The Senate Highway Bill Would Cut Social Security

Written by SK Ashby

It's clear now why Senate Republicans hoped to vote on the highway funding bill without providing anyone with enough time to read it; not even their own members.

Both House Republicans and Democrats are now speaking out against the Senate bill for various reasons, not the least of which is offsetting cuts to social security.

“In my 22-plus years here in Congress, I've never seen a situation where there's been so much political angst about doing what we need to do to get people to pay for their use of our roads and highways and mass transit system,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said after a closed-door meeting of his caucus in the Capitol.

Becerra singled out an offset provision that would take money from the Social Security trust fund, arguing that any tweaks to the retirement benefit program should go toward bolstering it.

“I'll be darned if I'm going to let someone take money that's for Social Security to use it [on highways] because they're not willing to do the right thing to impose a user fee so we can fix our roads,” he said.

Likewise, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said there's virtually no chance the Senate Republican bill could pass through the Republican-controlled House. House Republicans, for their part, oppose the Senate bill because it would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

As for why the House and Senate have taken wildly different approaches, it appears one hand is not communicating with the other.

“We just don’t think their plan is going to go anyplace,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). “The Speaker said he had no idea, no clue what they’re up to, so we’re just going to hold to our plan.”

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