Kevin McCarthy is taking Republicans’ plan to gut Social Security and Medicare on the road alongside former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. McCarthy is following his mentor’s advice — threatening to use the financial stability of our country in order to push spending cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare.

In a recent interview, McCarthy threatened to put the financial stability of the economy at risk if Republicans take the majority.

Kevin McCarthy: “You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt. And if people want to make a debt ceiling [for a longer period of time], just like anything else, there comes a point in time where, okay, we’ll provide you more money, but you got to change your current behavior. We’re not just going to keep lifting your credit card limit, right? And we should seriously sit together and [figure out] where can we eliminate some waste? Where can we make the economy grow stronger?”

And McCarthy would not rule out using cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a bargaining chip.

Punchbowl: “We asked McCarthy if he intended to try to reform entitlements as part of the debt ceiling debate. McCarthy said he wouldn’t ‘predetermine’ anything.”

His advisor, Newt Gingrich, is known for his strategy of threatening to crash the economy to get his way and even was responsible for a three week partial government shutdown in the 90s.

NPR: “It took three full weeks — 21 days — for President Bill Clinton and the Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to settle an impasse that partially shut down the government in 1995-96. That particular moment is a landmark in U.S. political history, birthing a new era of American gridlock that arguably led to the sharp partisanship that has gripped the nation.”

NBC News: “This began to change in 1995 with then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The New York Times reported on September 22nd of that year, ‘…it was highly unusual for a high Government leader to suggest, as Mr. Gingrich did today, that default on Government payments was not beyond the pale.’ This was the moment the GOP weaponized the debt ceiling, with Gingrich blatantly suggesting he would allow the government to default on its debt if President Clinton did not give in to Republican budget demands.”

Gingrich recently said McCarthy should make a “shopping list” of policies he wants in order to keep our economy stable.

Gingrich: “I would make up a shopping list and go and sit up with Biden. My advice to McCarthy is that the only two people he should be negotiating with are the chief of staff and the president.”

Gingrich: “Now, I don’t think you go out and cheerfully shut the government down. I think you say, look, the following things have to get done, and you pick three or four things that the American people really want, and you have Biden explain why he’s against all of them, and he won’t do any of them.”

We need to take Republicans at their word. Kevin McCarthy and his fellow Republicans are so hellbent on pushing spending cuts that could jeopardize Social Security and Medicare that they would be willing to hold the U.S. economy hostage. A GOP majority would be disastrous for the economy and the country.

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