Sanders slams Jeb Bush over Social Security remarks

Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday slammed former Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R-Fla.) recent comments about raising the retirement age for Social Security.

Bush suggested the age to get Social Security should be raised from 65 to 68 to 70.

{mosads}“At a time when more than half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings, it would be a disaster to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age,” the Democratic presidential candidate replied in a statement.

“It is unacceptable to ask construction workers, truck drivers, nurses and other working-class Americans to work until they are 68 to 70 years old before qualifying for full Social Security benefits,” added Sanders, who has pushed to expand Social Security benefits.

Bush called for a hike in the retirement age in an interview with CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

“I think it needs to be phased in over an extended period of time,” Bush said. “We need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in, over an extended period of time, going from 65 to 68 or 70. … And that, by itself, will help sustain the retirement system for anybody under the age of 40.”

Bush, who is exploring a presidential bid, also said he would be open to slashing benefits for wealthy people and their beneficiaries.

“I think it ought to be considered, for sure,” Bush said.

“I have a hard time understanding what world Gov. Bush and his billionaire backers live in,” Sanders responded on Wednesday.

“Gov. Bush has made clear that he wants to protect Social Security for those who have earned it. And yet, reform it so it’s still around for younger generations,” Right to Rise PAC spokesman Matt Gorman told The Hill in response to Sanders’s comments.

Right to Rise PAC is Bush’s leadership political action committee.

Hillary Clinton, considered the Democratic front-runner for president, chastised Republicans in April for attempts to change Social Security.

“What do we do to make sure it is there? We don’t mess with it, and we do not pretend that it is a luxury — because it is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the majority of people who draw from Social Security,” she said during a stop in New Hampshire.

Clinton is expected to hold a kick-off rally in New York this month, about two months after officially jumping into the 2016 race. After that, she’s expected to roll out more specific policy platforms.

—Updated at 4:45 p.m. 

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