Republicans dismiss Social Security warning from ‘scarer-in-chief’

More than 50 House Republicans are urging President Obama to commit to making payments to military personnel, Social Security and Medicare recipients and interest on the national debt if Congress does not act to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

“We ask that you make an immediate, clear and unequivocal public commitment that your administration will continue to make all interest payments on time, as well as ensuring the pay of our military personnel, and making Social Security and Medicare payments in full,” reads a letter signed by 57 GOP lawmakers that was released on Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a press conference outside the Capitol, rank-and-file Republicans assailed the president for saying he could not guarantee that Social Security checks would be sent out if Congress does not meet the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department for raising the debt ceiling.

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGOP-Trump fractures on masks open up Democrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Justice Department officials say decisions are politicized MORE (R-Tex.) denounced Obama as the “scarer-in-chief” and said the only way those payments would not be made is if the president made a “mean-spirited” decision to withhold them. 

Some conservatives contend the administration can prioritize payments if the federal debt ceiling is breached, but the Treasury Department has warned that will not prevent the U.S. credit rating from being downgraded, potentially sending the economy into a tailspin.

“This is immature political posturing,” Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresLawmakers ask Trump administration to help Gulf oil and gas producers Texas kicks off critical battle for House control Democrats push to end confidentiality for oil companies that don't add ethanol MORE (R-Tex.) said of the administration’s warnings.

Republicans suggested the administration should first stop payments to implement the 2012 healthcare law and remaining funds from Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.