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August 03, 2023

Arizona Rep. Schweikert warns of ‘end of your Republic’ if social program funds aren’t cut

Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) suggested during a speech on July 20 that in order to save the country, Congress needs to make difficult cuts to funding for Social Security and Medicare.

Schweikert said in a long speech on the House floor that the national debt is out of control due to an aging population and mandatory spending on programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which provide retirement income and health insurance coverage to older and disabled Americans. Without changes to the programs, he said, “This is the end of your Republic.”

“We have lost our minds around here with our unwillingness to do the things that are difficult because we have to explain it to a reporter or it will be an attack ad in one of our campaigns,” Schweikert said, according to a transcript from the Congressional Record.

Schweikert didn’t say in his speech what changes he’d specifically make to Social Security and Medicare.

However, he is a member of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans that released a budget proposal in June that would raise the retirement age to 69. Currently, Americans can collect their full Social Security retirement benefits at age 67.

The study committee budget also proposes changing Medicare into a “premium support model where private plans would compete with a federal Medicare plan.”

“In contrast to the current system, in which Medicare Part B premiums are generally the same for all beneficiaries regardless of which plan they select, premiums for Medicare-covered services would be expected to vary from one part of the country to another, and from one plan to the next, under a premium support system,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Changing to that model would cause most Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums, KFF reported.

Schweikert, for his part, criticized Democratic groups that run ads against him for wanting to make changes to Medicare and Social Security.

“If you actually go into many of our home districts right now, the Democrats are running ads saying, ‘David Schweikert is willing to talk about Social Security, trying to save it. He is a horrible human being.’ They are doing this because they care more about winning the political  debate than saving it,” Schweikert said. “It is just immoral.”

Observers see Schweikert as one of the most vulnerable House Republicans in the 2024 election.

He is one of 18 GOP lawmakers representing districts President Joe Biden carried in 2020. Biden carried Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which Schweikert represents, by 1.5 points, according to Daily Kos.

Schweikert barely won reelection in 2022, defeating Democratic opponent Jevin Hodge by less than 1 point.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates Schweikert’s race a “tilt Republican” contest.

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