Schumer: All Areas Subject to Cuts, Except Social Security

Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:46am

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday no area of the budget should be exempt from the “all of the above” spending cuts — other than Social Security.

During a speech at the Center for American Progress, Schumer listed a litany of places where cuts can be made in a continuing resolution other than nondefense discretionary spending but said Social Security would be off the table.

“Mandatory spending is the largest contributor to the deficit,” he said, mentioning cuts to the defense budget as well as outdated subsidies to oil and gas companies and agriculture.

“Obviously Social Security doesn’t play much of a role in the short term, frankly it doesn’t play much of a role if you are looking at deficit reduction in the longer-term budget. … Social Security doesn’t run into real trouble [until] 20 years from now and we better solve our deficit problem before then.”

He added, “I believe it is a separate discussion either from the short-term or the longer-term budget discussions I mentioned today.”

Schumer praised the negotiations that have taken place between the “gang of six” Senators, who have been focusing on turning the deficit commission’s recommendations into legislation, even though he did not support everything in the commissions report.

“Of course I don’t support all of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission, but I support the gang of six’s comprehensive approach to negotiations,” he said.

He repeatedly slammed the House-passed continuing resolution, which would cut $61 billion from current spending levels. The House bill, which cut many programs Democrats traditionally favor, passed on Feb. 19.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the House-passed longer-term CR as well as a Democratic alternative Wednesday, but both measures are expected to fail.