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Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has supported increasing access and funding for Social Security and Medicare over the years
However, she voted yes on the American Rescue Act, which had the potential to cut Medicare benefits
But, she also co-sponsored a bill that avoided the risk of the cuts
U.S. Sen.Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has been a strong supporter of programs aimed at helping Americans after they retire, such as Medicare and Social Security.
But a Republican group is claiming that Baldwin’s support for the American Rescue Act Plan in 2021 may have tarnished that reputation.
In a 15-second ad posted to YouTube on Feb. 21, the National Republican Senatorial Committee declared:
"You earned your retirement benefits. You followed the rules. You paid into the system. But Tammy Baldwin wants to take them away."
It goes on to say that Baldwin backed President Joe Biden’s main COVID-19 relief bill, which it argues put Social Security and Medicare at risk.
For this check, we’ll examine the central claim: Baldwin wants to take Social Security and Medicare away.
Let’s take a deeper look.
When we reached out to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is targeting Baldwin in the runup to the 2024 election, the group did not respond to multiple messages seeking backup for the claim.
But Baldwin’s team shared a host of information about the senator’s stance on Medicare and Social Security throughout the years. She was elected to the Senate in 2012, after seven terms in the House.
Over the years, Baldwin has authored and signed onto legislation attempting to strengthen the programs, as evidenced by a Feb. 13, 2019, news release from her office that outlined a bill to expand Medicare. The bill would have expanded access to people ages 50 to 64, along with those 65 and older, who are already eligible.
Baldwin has also supported Social Security.
In 2021, she was one of a group of senators who authored a bill that would have repealed limitations on Social Security, including the reduction of benefits for those who already receive other benefits, such as a pension from state or local government, according to the bill summary.
She was also one of several Democrats who in 2022 introduced a resolution aiming to expand the program.
"Wisconsinites work real hard and they pay into Social Security, so they should be able to count on the guaranteed benefits they have earned," she said in a Sept. 30, 2022, news release. "Social Security is an earned benefit that Wisconsin families worked for, and I will always work to protect the economic security they have earned. Social Security is a promise that must be kept."
However, as noted in the ad, Baldwin did vote yes for the American Rescue Act Plan under Biden, which could have affected Medicare benefits, as Republicans noted at the time.
According to a Feb. 27, 2021, CNBC report, the American Rescue Act Plan had the potential to trim Medicare by 4% — some $36 billion – starting a year later, in 2022. The cuts were due to a rule that corrects for additions to the federal deficit by automatically pulling back funding from certain programs or departments. Because the plan raised the deficit, there was potential for a cut.
But lawmakers foresaw that risk, and enacted the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act, which avoided the risk of a trim to Medicare. Baldwin co-sponsored the legislation.
So, although Baldwin voted yes on the American Rescue Act, she also acted to prevent cuts to the program. In any case, the bill would not have affected Social Security — which the National Republican Senatorial Committee lumps into the ad.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee claimed Baldwin "wants to take away" Social Security and Medicare.
Baldwin’s record shows that she has supported expanding the programs.
Baldwin did support the American Rescue Plan Act, which had the potential to cut the Medicare program. But, she also co-sponsored additional legislation to avoid the impact on recipients.
We rate this claim False.
National Republican Senatorial Committee, YouTube, Feb. 21, 2023
Congress.gov, "S.1302 - Social Security Fairness Act," March 1, 2023
Tammy Baldwin, "Baldwin supports introduction of Senate resolution to protect and expand Social Security in the face of Republican attacks," Sept. 30, 2022
CNBC, "Covid relief bill may trigger $36 billion cut to Medicare, higher student loan fees," Feb. 27, 2021
Congress.gov, "S.610 Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act," March 1, 2023
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