Next Tuesday’s vote will determine the future of Social Security, Medicare
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Medicare and Social Security are on the ballot next week. Don’t believe me?

Just ask Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship As Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural MORE.

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Last month, when asked about his budget-busting tax gift to the wealthy, the Republican Senate majority leader told Bloomberg News that his “single biggest disappointment” in his career had been his failure to gut Medicare and Social Security.

And it’s not that Republicans haven’t been trying.

For decades, Congressional Republicans have been waging a wildly unpopular crusade to unravel these programs.

President Bush tried, and failed, in 2005. Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCalif. congresswoman-elect bumps into Pelosi at airport How this year’s freshmen can save the Congress — and themselves Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters MORE (R-Wis.) tried, and failed, in 2011.

Now, congressional Republicans are hoping the third time is the charm.

When you go to the polls on Tuesday, bear this in mind: your vote will determine the future of Social Security and Medicare.

If Republicans retain control of Congress next year, your earned benefits will be the first thing on the chopping block.

That’s bad news, not just for seniors, but for any American who hopes to retire with dignity someday.

Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful programs in American history. For 22 million Americans – including 15.1 million seniors – Social Security is the only thing standing between them and poverty.

But these programs are so much more than just statistics.

It’s impossible to measure the peace of mind that Medicare and Social Security provide – to seniors who know they’ll be able to visit a doctor, to grieving spouses who still need to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on.

Now, Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to use the exploding deficit as an excuse to drastically change these lifelines – programs that families pay into their entire lives – because of his own party’s irresponsible financial decisions.

Republicans got us into this mess when they handed out more than $1 trillion in special tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations.

At the time, they claimed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves. We knew that wasn’t true.

Now that they’re faced with the consequences – a ballooning deficit – they want to pay for it out of your health care and retirement security.

And that’s not all.

If Republicans get their way, 2 million children and seniors will be kicked off food stamps.

People suffering from pre-existing medical conditions – like asthma, diabetes, and cancer – could once again be denied coverage.

Families who rely on Medicaid for addiction treatment or long-term care would be out of luck.

Governing is about priorities. Do we want a Congress that works for the people, or one that’s in the pocket of billionaires and special interests?

Time and time again, Republicans have shown us who they care about – and it’s not the American people.

On Nov. 6, it’s time to send a message back to Washington. If Republicans won’t work for the people, then they should be out of a job.

Lee represents California’s 13th District. She is a former co-chair and whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.