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Manchin Considers Bipartisan Deal to End Social Security’s Bankruptcy and Eliminate Nation’s ‘Cripple Debt’


Sen. Joe Manchin III said Thursday that he wants to work with Republicans in the next Congress to prevent the bankruptcy of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and to solve the nation’s “crippling debt.”

The moderate Democrat from West Virginia’s remarks came amid promises by Republicans — if they win a majority in the House of Representatives — to demand changes to such programs in exchange for lifting the national debt ceiling next year.

“We cannot live with this terrible debt,” Mr. Manchin said during a virtual appearance at the Fortune CEO Initiative. “If we don’t look at trust funds that go bankrupt, whether it’s Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Highway, all [facing] huge problems right now, if we can’t figure out how we’re going to deal with this country’s financial problems, then we’re all going to pay a price we can’t afford.”

A report from the Social Security trustees in June put the exhaustion date at 2035, at which time benefits would have to be cut unless Congress takes action to restructure the program.

President Biden has vowed to protect such security programs, making it a pillar of his re-election campaign in the final days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. Other Democrats have done the same, trying to drum up voter enthusiasm.

However, Mr. Biden and Democrats have also made false or misleading claims that Republicans want to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Republicans have openly discussed changing safety nets in the context of bloated government spending, such as requiring reauthorization every few years, but they have not proposed cutting or outright eliminating such safety nets.

“They’re coming for your Social Security and Medicare, and they’re saying it out loud,” Mr. Biden said at a campaign rally last month. “I promise you: I will defend Social Security. I will defend Medicare. I will protect you.”

Mr. Biden also boasted — even going so far as to take credit — for a record cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients. On Wednesday, the White House deleted a tweet that falsely credited the president and also failed to provide context that the increase was due to a spike in inflation.

Democrats hope to raise the debt ceiling after the midterm elections but before the next Congress to avoid a showdown with Republicans in the new year.

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