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White House Not Cutting Benefits For Current Recipients

| by Jordan Smith

White House officials have ruled out imposing Social Security cuts on current recipients.

However, Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not comment on whether consideration would be given to cutting benefits for future claimants, The Hill reported.

President Donald Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, commented on the issue at a press briefing Feb. 27.

"It's the president keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do," Mulvaney said, according to The Hill. "We are taking his words and we turning them into policies and dollars."

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During the election campaign, Trump promised he would not reduce Social Security benefits for current recipients. This went against some in the Republican Party, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long been an advocate of benefit cuts.

"For Paul Ryan, this seems to be the opportunity he has been waiting for and working for for years," former Director of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Elmendorf told The New York Times. "But Paul Ryan's budget plans with cuts to Social Security and Medicare  are not that popular with most voters, and what helped elect Donald Trump was the promise not to cut benefits and programs, and that is an unresolved tension."

Along the campaign trail, Trump promised not to cut Medicare or Social security for anyone currently receiving benefits, a pledge which he has thus far stood behind. 

Mulvaney, a former congressional Republican, stated he would push for entitlement reform as Trump's budget director. But he noted that the budget plan would not be the final word.

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"This is not a full-blown budget," he added, The Hill reported.

A full spending plan is due for release in early May.

Mulvaney's message was backed up by Spicer.

"The president understands the commitment that was made to seniors," said Spicer. "Regardless of whether you voted for him or not, whether or not you agree with his policies, he's a man of his word."

Trump reportedly intends to increase spending on law enforcement and the military by $100 billion. This could be funded by cuts to discretionary spending on areas such as education, science and health.

Congressional Democrats are expected to oppose efforts to reduce domestic spending.

"Democrats will make crystal clear the misplaced priorities of the administration and the Republican majority," Representative Nita Lowey said, according to The New York Times. "And we will fight tooth and nail to protect services and investments that are critical to hardworking American families and communities across the country."

Sources: The Hill, The New York Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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