Former Vice President Mike Pence called for “commonsense” reforms to Social Security and Medicare during remarks to college students at Washington and Lee University.
“If we act in this moment with the support of this generation, we can introduce commonsense reforms that will never touch anyone who is in retirement, or anyone who will retire in the next 25 years,” Pence told the assembled students on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. “It’ll just take courage to do it, and that’s where your generation will come in.”
The former vice president suggested that young voters should be infuriated by the unwillingness of politicians to consider reforms in these areas.
“President [Joe] Biden won’t even discuss commonsense reforms of Social Security and Medicare, and too many leaders in my political party take the same position,” Pence said, according to the AP. “If that frustrates you, good—it should, because it’ll be your generation that’s robbed of your dreams and opportunities.”
Pence also told reporters before the event: “I cannot endorse voices in our party today that simply want to walk past the problem of national debt by pledging to never touch Social Security and Medicare. The truth is we’ve got candidates for president today that are saying the very same thing that Joe Biden is saying. And that’s just unacceptable. And so I am going to continue to be a voice in my party for saying that there is a way for us to advance commonsense and compassionate reforms to Social Security and Medicare that will put our nation back on a path towards fiscal solvency.”
In response to Pence’s remarks, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Politico that “Mike Pence—and congressional Republicans—are flat wrong about cutting Medicare and banning abortion.”
“This continues an alarming trend of Republican leaders both selling out hardworking middle-class families and undermining basic American freedoms—especially the right of women to make their own health care decisions,” Bates added.
The former vice president’s remarks come amid speculation that he will soon announce a 2024 presidential campaign. Former President Donald Trump has already announced his campaign and many expect Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to announce a campaign as well.
The issue of how to handle Social Security and Medicare will likely be a top issue for Republicans vying for the GOP nomination. Pence expressed concerns that Americans are only seeing the beginning of the debt crisis that will unfold if the United States does not take action to rectify the situation now.
Pence also said that new leadership is needed in the Republican Party during his remarks at the Virginia university on Tuesday, expressing confidence that the GOP will again regain power in the 2024 election.
“I know we will win back America come 2024,” he said.
The former vice president also addressed news that Trump may be indicted by the Manhattan district attorney in matters related to the $130,000 hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who allegedly paid to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.
“If the president is in fact indicted by the Manhattan DA, that appears to me to be a politically motivated prosecution,” he said. But he discouraged Americans from engaging in protest if Trump is indicted, urging them to let their voices be heard “in other ways.”
“Protests in the immediate aftermath, I think they should think better of,” he added.
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