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Medicare and Social Security take center stage as midterms loom

Social Security
Nam Y. Huh
FILE - The U.S. Social Security Administration office is seen in Mount Prospect, Ill., Oct. 12, 2022.

As the final day of voting approaches, Republicans and Democrats are clashing over Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security used to be known as the third-rail of American politics, so super charged that it was untouchable. That's why Democrats are focused on recent comments from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy that if Republicans take control of the House, they'd use raising the debt ceiling as leverage to force spending cuts.

Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says Social Security and Medicare would be on the chopping block.

"Literally jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States' economy in order to be able to force changes to Social Security and Medicare," Spanberger says. "That's what we're talking about."

Republicans say the system is approaching insolvency, and that they have a plan to save and strengthen entitlement programs. When Republican Congressman Ben Cline was asked about Medicare during a recent debate, this is how he responded:

"We have to make it sustainable beyond the date at which it is going to become insolvent, which is in the next decade," said Cline. "And the spending that's gone on in the last two years does not help things."

Republicans say the debt spending has to stop. Democrats say healthcare for seniors is at risk. Voters will ultimately make the call in all 11 congressional districts in Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.