In an interview with CNBC in January, President Donald Trump laid bare his intent to gut 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.” Despite claims to the contrary, CO. Sen. Cory Gardner’s interests to slash these vital programs are directly intertwined with the president.
In 2010, Gardner emphatically stated “I do not favor privatization of Social Security or Medicare. We need to make sure that we’re living up to the promises that we have made to seniors and workers in this country.”
Yet, once elected to office, Gardner turned around and just as emphatically broke his promise.
In 2012, 2013 and again in 2014 Gardner voted for measures that would have raised the Social Security eligibility age to 70. In 2011, the Social Security Administration stated that raising the retirement age would reduce benefits for future retirees by $1,000 a year.
In 2011 and 2012, Gardner voted for two separate budgets that expressly opposed the privatization of Social Security. And in 2014, Gardner voted for a measure to gut Social Security benefits by over $137 billion. AARP said the bill Gardner voted in favor of would “be a hard hit for the millions of current retirees who are barely making ends meet.”
Gardner’s broken promises extended to Medicare, as well.
Between 2011 and 2013, Gardner voted seven times for budgets that would have privatized Medicare and transformed the program into a voucher program. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the budgets supported by Gardner would have doubled the typical out-of-pocket healthcare costs for a typical 65-year-old beneficiary.
As recently as 2017, Gardner voted for proposals to gut Medicare, slashing the program’s budget by nearly $500 billion.
There are currently over 870,000 Coloradans enrolled in Social Security and over 900,000 enrolled in Medicare. In 2020, Gardner is seeking reelection alongside President Trump. Should he hope to win back his seat, he will need the support of many of these senior Coloradans who rely on these programs everyday – and with his interests clearly tied with the President’s second term mission to gut these programs, it remains unclear if he will get them.