Steve Daines is googlewashing his record, but that’s not all that’s fake about him.
His facts aren’t real either, and his public, on-the-record support for a bill that forces cuts to Medicare and Social Security shows that he’s also not very smart. Daines has made a major miscalculation that is expected to negatively impact his campaign. In the Missoulian,
Daines said the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan “explicitly spells out that there will be no cuts in benefits in Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits and services.”
In response to critics who say the plan would inevitably require cuts to Social Security, Daines said, “It’s important that we move away from scare tactics and political rhetoric and start solving the problems our country faces. Reform will be needed to save these programs. We must ensure we protect seniors today and also work to ensure we save the system for future generations.”
You know Daines read the Republican talking points that say this bill exempts Medicare and Social Security, the problem is, that isn’t true. As the non-partisan Center for Budget Policy Priorities points out, that claim “falls apart under scrutiny”:
“The measure does not cut Social Security or Medicare in 2012. And it does not subject them to automatic cuts if its global spending caps are missed. It is inconceivable, however, that policymakers would meet the bill’s severe annual spending caps through automatic across-the-board cuts year after year; if they did, key government functions would be crippled.”
The legislation technically exempts veterans’ benefits, Medicare, Social Security for the first year. But these programs comprise roughly 2/3 of all entitlement spending. That means that under the House GOP plan, spending cuts will “fall on programs like school lunches, student loans, food stamps, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance – some of the very programs designed to automatically increase when the economy is down in order to lessen the impact of job losses and associated economic hardship.” And 70% of Medicaid goes to care for seniors and people with disabilities.
According to the National Economic Council:
“When you’ve already made such deep cuts to discretionary spending, Medicaid and other programs, it becomes difficult to imagine any credible ways to achieve those spending levels without including Social Security in the reductions and making substantially deeper reductions in Medicare.”
Cuts to Medicare and Social Secirty will be a major issue this campaign, and the fact that Daines’ expressed support for cutting them though his support of this legislation is a major misstep on his part that will be used against him again and again, and tilts this race back in favor of Democrats, in spite of his initial fundraising lead.