In an interview with CNBC in January, President Trump laid bare his intent to cut Medicare and Social Security should he be reelected to a second term. “At some point they will be,” Trump said. “At the right time, we will take a look at that.” And despite attempts to distance herself from President Trump’s flagrant promise, Susan Collins has a long history of supporting similar attempts to gut these vital programs that provide essential benefits for senior Mainers every year.
According to a review by American Ledger, between 1997 and 2017 Collins voted at least eight separate times for GOP budgets that attempted to slash funding for Medicare.
In 2011, Collins voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan that would have necessitated deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called this legislation “one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years.” And AARP took aim at the legislation, stating that Social Security and Medicare would be “at risk for arbitrary reductions under the constitutional amendment, and as such, AARP is opposed.”
In 2018 over 330,000 — nearly a quarter of Maine’s population — senior Mainers were enrolled in Medicare. Maine has the second highest percentage of residents aged 65+ in the nation.
Collins’ record on protecting or expanding Social Security isn’t better.
In 2000, Collins voted to divert surplus Social Security trust fund money to reduce the federal debt; in 2001 Collins voted against legislation to establish a lockbox around Social Security to prevent funding from being slashed in budget negotiations; in 2015 Collins voted against legislation to expand Social Security benefits; and as late as 2017, Collins voted against allocating $1.36 billion to fund the Social Security Administration to cut down on backlogs and improve service.
More than 338,000 Mainers were Social Security beneficiaries in 2017 who received more than $400 million in monthly benefits.
In 2020, Collins – on the ballot alongside Trump – is seeking reelection as U.S. Senator from Maine. With her history of supporting the president at all costs, her reelection potential is looking increasingly rocky as she is currently the least popular Senator in America.