West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin did the nation a huge favor Wednesday when he secured a commitment from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to rule out pushing for savings from Social Security or Medicare as part of any agreement around the debt ceiling.
NEW: @Sen_JoeManchin just met w @SpeakerMcCarthy on the debt limit
MANCHIN said McCarthy told him he will not cut social security and Medicare.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 25, 2023
Senator Manchin’s willingness to engage in bipartisan, bicameral conversations on this critical issue saved the country from a massive waste of time and lessened the risk of a fiscal default.
Here’s why: Washington has tried (and usually failed) to address entitlement programs countless times since the 1980s. Each time it took way longer than the five to seven months Congress usually has to break the political logjam and raise the debt ceiling.
Why it matters: Assuming Speaker McCarthy can live up to his agreement with Senator Manchin, Congress won’t be wasting precious days pretending it was possible to get a final deal on entitlement spending changes in order to quickly get a debt ceiling pact.