Why young voters should care about the GOP’s hostility toward Social Security and Medicare
“They have parents, they have grandparents and every paycheck they get, they’re paying into these systems,” a source close to the Biden administration said to Supercreator.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
President Joe Biden this afternoon took to the White House Rose Garden to discuss promote the news from his Health and Human Services Department that, for the first time in more than a decade, Medicare Part B premiums would decrease next year by over $60 per beneficiary per year.
The announcement means millions of older adults and people with disabilities will see lower health care costs each year — including Bob Parant, a Medicare beneficiary and Type-1 diabetic who introduced the president at the event and said he’ll be able to visit his grandchildren more and worry less about depleting his retirement savings.
There’s a common apathy among millennial and Gen Z voters I speak to when it comes to these programs reserved for Boomers and beyond. But a source close to the administration tells me that young voters have a stake in the future of Medicare and Social Security whether they realize it or not.
“I understand that it’s difficult to sort of sell it to young folks, right? Because we’re talking about things that don’t even impact them — what’s the level of immediacy?” the source said. “But they have parents, they have grandparents and every paycheck they get they’re paying into these systems.”
The Rose Garden event reinforces the messaging contrast between Democrats and Republicans with the midterm elections exactly six weeks away.
White House officials and congressional Democrats realize health care, including abortion politics, plus climate justice and democracy reform are issues that resonate with the voters they’ll need to turn out to the polls.
It also comes as Senate Republicans like Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson propose regressive reforms to Medicare and Social Security that would force Congress to vote to fund the programs every five years and make them subject to the annual appropriations process.
As I wrote on Sunday, Republicans see their path back to the majority charted by a relentless focus on the issues that galvanize their most enthusiastic voters: reining in government spending, securing the border, empowering law enforcement and marginalizing LGBTQ+ youth.
And though Republicans and Democrats differ on policy solutions, both sides agree that there’s room to make programs like Medicare and Social Security less bureaucratic and wasteful.
“Clearly, there’s work to be done to make every program in our government better. We’re a country that’s always shooting upwards — or attempting to,” the source said. “But on one side, you have folks who want to reassess programs that have been around for a long time with millions and millions and millions of people who are enrolled in those programs, millions and millions and millions of people who have paid into those programs, and [Republicans] have nothing to replace it with.”
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— The latest on the CR: House and Senate negotiators on Monday night released the text for the continuing resolution that Congress will vote on this week to keep the government running beyond Friday night.
The Senate this evening will vote to advance the legislation towards final passage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that the House will put it on the floor by Thursday.
As expected, the CR includes a little over $12 billion in additional assistance for Ukraine. There’s also $20 million for water infrastructure in Jackson, Mississippi as the city recovers from a water crisis that saw residents experience a dayslong outage of running water. The legislation also sets aside $1 billion for a federal program that will help low-income families afford to heat their homes this winter and reauthorizes for five years Food and Drug Administration user fees, which are paid by companies that produce certain human drug and biological products. $2.5 billion will go to New Mexico wildfire recovery with $2 billion more for disaster aid.
The bill excludes the White House’s emergency request for $22 billion in COVID-19 funding and a little over $4 billion for the administration’s monkeypox response.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration’s current priority is to ensure Congress passes the CR before the end of the week but that officials wouldn’t give up on securing additional funding.
“We need to protect and build on the progress we have made,” she said. “So we're going to continue that process.”
As this newsletter was going to press this evening, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia have agreed to move forward with the CR without Manchin’s energy permitting bill that authorized the construction of the state’s Mountain Valley Pipeline and provisions to expedite other energy projects. Schumer and Pelosi agreed to put the Manchin bill up for a vote in exchange for his support on the Inflation Reduction Act Congress passed last month. But it became clear over the past few days that the votes weren’t there to pass the continuing resolution with the energy permitting legislation attached to it.
— Cori Bush calls for $100M for fams affected by police violence: Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri introduced the Helping Families Heal Act, a bill that would provide $100 million in mental health resources to address the trauma victims of police brutality and their families endure, which disproportionately affect those from Black and Brown communities.
The first-of-its-kind legislation would also establish community- and school-based programs to help those who are affected by the issue. No government-funded programs exist that offer mental health services for these victims, according to Rep. Bush’s office.
The congresswoman drafted the bill in collaboration with Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
— FEMA head warns against Ian complacency: Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell on Tuesday told reporters that she was concerned that Florida residents would be complacent as Hurricane Ian bears down on the state.
“What I worry about when I think about complacency is that if it’s been a near miss in the past, they feel like they can just ride it out. That’s a dangerous way to think,” she said. “I think what we have and what we see is people that have not had any impacts, they think that that's not going to happen again. Take it seriously do not underestimate the potential that the storm can bring.”
The National Hurricane Service this morning upgraded Ian to a category 3 storm, which indicates devastating damage will occur. The storm is expected to make landfall between Fort Myers and Tampa before dramatically slowing. “This is significant because what this means is that Floridians are going to experience the impacts of the storm for a very long time.”
Search and rescue will be a priority for FEMA, which immediately began moving resources and personnel in after President Biden signed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s pre-landfall emergency declaration request on Saturday that authorized FEMA to immediately start supporting the governor's concerns that he relayed.
Criswell said Ian’s path has become more defined but it can still be unpredictable, as with any hurricane.
“This means that it is more important than ever that communities inside and outside of that projected path that you see that you stay vigilant,” she said. “Get ready and do not underestimate the potential that this storm can bring. Know where you are going to get your information. Listen to your local officials and heed their advice. They are trying to keep you safe. Have a plan to communicate with your family.”
— New investments to address the teacher shortage The Education Department announced 22 new three-year grants totaling more than $60 million under the Supporting Effective Educator Development program to further address the teacher shortage by strengthening the teacher pipeline and expanding development opportunities.
As of August 2022, 53 percent of all public schools reported feeling understaffed entering the 2022-23 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ latest survey results on public school experiences with COVID-19.
69 percent reported too few candidates as the biggest challenge to hiring teachers.
Related: “How bad is the teacher shortage? Depends where you live,” by NYT’s Jacey Fortin and Eliza Fawcett … Read the Education Department announcement
— Get ready for your next international trip now: The State Department is encouraging US travelers to check on their passport status ahead of future holiday travel trips next year, noting that applying in the fall or winter allows for faster routine processing due to lower seasonal demand. The department added that planning ahead helps you avoid the stress and extra cost for expedited processing and the need for hard-to-get last-minute appointments at regional passport agencies. Learn more at travel.state.gov
— Garden tour schedule release: President Biden and Dr. Biden announced the fall public opening of the White House gardens will be on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.
A few important details if you’re interested:
The tours are free and open to the public but a ticket is required for all tourists, including small children.
The tickets are distributed by the National Park Service on the morning of the tours — one ticket per person, on a first-come, first-served basis,
The White House will monitor the COVID-19 situation based on public health recommendations. Face masks will be optional and available for those who choose to wear them.
— WH issues rebuttal to student loan relief estimate: The White House took exception to an estimate released on Monday of the cost of President Biden’s student debt loan cancelation plan.
This aggressive pushback is notable in that it’s a recognition by the administration that the issue is too divisive to allow Republican lawmakers and candidates to distort the policy as a handout to wealthy educated elites at the expense of working non-college graduates. As I reported in yesterday’s newsletter, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts issued a statement calling out what they perceive as hypocrisy from conservatives who supported former President Donald Trump’s $2 trillion tax cuts for rich corporations and individuals but are against a program that would overwhelmingly benefit Pell Grant recipients, many of whom identify as Black and brown.
The main issue the administration has, according to a memo distributed to reporters on Monday evening, is that the Congressional Budget Office assumes that 90 percent of eligible borrowers will complete the process to claim relief. (Reminder: The Education Department still hasn’t released the application for borrowers to verify their incomes fall below the threshold.)
“We would be thrilled if 90 percent of eligible middle- and low-income Americans applied for this program,” the memo said. “But unfortunately, that’s unlikely based on data from other programs.”
The administration acknowledges that Social Security and Medicare have 90-percent take-up rates but consider these programs as outliers due to their longevity and broad popularity. Instead, White House officials argue an apples-to-apples comparison is the Education Department’s debt relief program that cancels debt for borrowers whose schools closed, like ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian College. These programs had a 50-percent take-up rate, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis.
The White House went on to claim that the annual cash flow effects of the program, which is what matters for the federal debt and for economic impacts, are much smaller than the CBO’s estimate accounts for since the federal budget computes the complete cost of the program over the lifetime of the loans.
You can sign up to be notified when the process for student loan cancelation has officially opened up. The Education Department will accept applications until December 31, 2023.
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TODAY IN POLITICS
— President Biden this morning received his daily intelligence briefing. He also this afternoon spoke at an event on Medicare and Social Security at the White House.
— Vice President Harris is in Tokyo and held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Han Duck-too of South Korea to discuss her upcoming visit to Seoul. She had a separate bilat with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia on the climate crisis. Harris then led a presidential delegation to the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan and toured the Zojoji Temple, the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo and has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. The Vice President also met with staff and families of the US Embassy in Tokyo and led the presidential delegation in participating in a receiving line for former Prime Minister Abe.
— First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this afternoon welcomed and honored the Class of 2022 National Student Poets Program at the White House. The poets participated in a brief poetry reading and Dr. Biden spoke.
— Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff met with members of the Latino community in the entertainment and media industry in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
— The House is out.
— The Senate is in and will vote to advance the continuing resolution. The Rules Committee met this afternoon to consider legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act, the law that outlines the certification process for presidential elections.
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