Are cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education planned by Republicans? Even though Republicans have recently denied those plans because of public outcry, some Republicans are still making those threats and planning to use their power in Congress as a bargaining chip when the debt ceiling vote comes up this summer.

On Thursday, February 16, members of the KCDW Board, Chair Carolyn Bird Salazar, Treasurer Lois Swatscheno, Secretary Kim Young, Public Relations Chair Sylvia Marshall, and member of the Public Relations Committee Linda Willet, attended a rally in Elk Grove Village led by U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi who represents the IL 8th district. Both national and local politicians who are fighting Republican cuts spoke at the event.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi read recent statements by Republican lawmakers showing their true intentions:
Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah stated that his objective is to slowly “phase out” Social Security, “to pull it up by the roots, and get rid of it.” This action would leave future generations with nothing to fall back on when they age.

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who was the former governor of Florida, wants to pass “sunsetting laws,” which would terminate federal programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, every five years and bring them up for a vote again. Public outcry caused him to back down on that and exempt Social Security, Medicare, and veterans benefits from his plan. That brings up a frightening question. What would happen to the programs that the elderly and poor rely on for food and medical care if Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress?

And Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin called Social Security a “ponzi scheme” and advocated ending the “entitlement programs” such as Medicare and Social Security. He thinks the programs should be reconsidered on an annual basis, which is more shocking than Senator Rick Scott’s proposal of five years.

The Republican Study Committee submitted a budget that suggested “raising eligibility ages for each program, refusing payments for people who retire early or have “adequate” income, and “privatizing Social Security.” Republicans in the House have also suggested repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, which recently cut drug prices for many seniors.

Some Illinois politicians who were at the rally responded to these outrageous statements. IL Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, who represents the 3rd District in the IL House of Representatives, stated that “cutting Social Security is unconscionable and will keep people from aging with dignity.” And U.S. Congressman Jonathan Jackson, who represents the IL 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives, emphasized that we must be loud and clear and vote in every election to elect people who will vote for democratic policies and the programs we want. Jane Russell, who is currently the Secretary/Treasurer for the IL Federation of Teachers, emphasized the importance of running for local elections such as the school board. She said we must be vigilant that there are no cuts to education spending.

To wrap up the event, Congressman Krishnamoorthi emphasized that Republicans cannot be trusted. After President Joe Biden revealed their plans in his State of the Union speech, many of them backed down and said they would not touch Social Security and Medicare, but they did not mention proposed cuts to Medicaid and education programs. Raja called on us to write letters and make phone calls to local politicians and national politicians who have our future in their hands. As Democrats, we must follow the lead of President Joe Biden and educate our neighbors and friends about the true intentions of Republicans. This includes being vigilant and supporting people who run in local elections. We have already seen the price that is paid when Democrats do not vote.