President Donald Trump is not planning to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits for Americans by any means, according to a White House official.
The official said the president will sign an executive order on Monday, but will not take any action on entitlement programs for low-income Americans, including Social Security.
The administration’s decision to make no cuts to these programs comes in response to criticism from some Republican lawmakers who argue that cuts are necessary to help pay for the $16 trillion debt ceiling increase that is being negotiated by Congress.
“There is no question that there are cuts that we can make to Social, Medicare and Medicaid,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.
“The president believes that these programs have proven to be essential in helping Americans meet their obligations.
So there is no plan to reduce these programs.”
However, the official said that the president is “open to the idea” of cuts to Medicare and Social Security to help fund his $16.1 trillion deficit reduction plan.
“He has asked the Administration to work with Congress to reach a long-term agreement that balances the budget and keeps our promise to end entitlement programs that are unsustainable and unaffordable,” the official continued.
“While the president recognizes the importance of these programs, he is committed to addressing them with appropriate bipartisan funding and the appropriate tools to address their shortfalls.”
The official also said that Trump is “very optimistic” that Congress will come to an agreement on the debt ceiling and that he has met with members of both parties, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R, SC).
The White House has said that it would not consider reducing the retirement age for Americans to 66, which is currently set to be 75, or cutting Medicaid benefits to seniors.
The budget office estimated that the cuts to entitlements could save the federal government $500 billion over the next decade.
The White Star Line’s President, Bob Dole, said in a statement Monday that he will sign the order Monday morning.
“We are pleased that President Trump is listening to our concerns, and we believe we have the ability to find bipartisan solutions to address these important problems,” Dole said.
“Our members are working to make sure that we will achieve these goals by making investments in infrastructure and jobs and reforming our tax code to make our economy more competitive.”
Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the administration is also working on “a new round of infrastructure funding.”
The White Congress will be in session for the second day in a row this week, with Trump set to hold a joint press conference with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.