In the wake of Trump’s comments last week that he’s willing to “look” at federal spending on entitlements, a progressive group is putting renewed scrutiny on U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) stance on Medicare and Social Security, including Gardner’s statement during his last Senate race that he would vote in the Senate to privatize Medicare, as he’d voted to do during his House tenure.
“At some point they will be,” Trump said, when asked if entitlements were on his agenda. “At the right time, we will take a look at that.”
Specifically, Trump stated his willingness to look at curbing Medicare spending.
“When you take a closer look at the records of the Senate’s most vulnerable Republicans, the takeaway is clear: Donald Trump just made their reelections infinitely harder,” said Zach Hudson, a spokesman for American Bridge in a news release, spotlighting Gardner, among other senators. “Their long track records of voting to cut Medicare and Social Security are now fair game and will receive renewed scrutiny, and that’s a recipe for disaster for these incumbent Senators.”
In the news release, Hudson pointed to a series of votes, like this one, by Gardner during his four years in the U.S. House, from 2010 to 2014, for the so-called Ryan budget, which would have, among other things, privatized Medicare. Hudson also listed multiple votes, like this one, by Gardner to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security, even though he’d once promised not to do so.
In his comments last week, Trump did not specify how he’d address Medicare spending.
Asked during his 2014 senate race against Democrat Mark Udall if he would vote again in the U.S. Senate for the “Ryan Budget,” Gardner signaled his willingness to do so. And he offered a strong defense of his Ryan-budget vote.
“Well, I would vote for a bill [Ryan budget] that allows us to balance the budget, that protects Medicare, and that’s what I did, Senator Udall, was voted for a bill that protects Medicare, that protects retirees and their social safety nets,” Gardner said on C-Span.
This isn’t surprising coming from Gardner, who made no secret of his admiration for Ryan himself.
“This is a guy [Ryan] who understands the budget and the economy perhaps better than anybody other than Mitt Romney,” Gardner once said.
A call to Gardner’s office, seeking a reaction to Trump’s comments, was not returned.