‘Keep your hands off our Social Security’: CA senior rally

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – On Friday afternoon, California seniors gathered in Bakersfield to call on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) to protect Social Security and Medicare, despite the president’s promise not to cut the programs.

It comes as the topics have sparked a political firestorm in recent months as McCarthy and President Joe Biden seek to reach an agreement on funding the government and raising the national debt ceiling.

The California Alliance for Retired Americans said it sent seven buses of seniors from across the state to Yokuts Park just around the corner from McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield for the event.

“Keep your hands off our Social Security and our Medicare,” said event attendee and Social Security Works PAC President Jon “Bowzer” Bauman. “Social Security and Medicare have kept more people out of poverty than any other domestic program. Please don’t try to privatize. Don’t try to raise the retirement age.”

Another attendee, Tish Leon, who retired from her career in accounting and office management and traveled from San Diego for the event, said she fears what will happen if her Social Security benefits are cut.

“It’s my source of income. I would have to decide whether to pay the mortgage or go without food or medicine. It’s scary,” Leon said.

According to latest data In 2021, about 32,000 people in Kern County receive Social Security.

Since the start of the new Congress, Social Security and Medicare have been in the spotlight, even leading to a combative moment during February’s State of the Union address when President Biden said some Republicans wanted to repeal the programs despite McCarthy’s clear message on the subject.

“Cutting Medicare and Social Security — they’re off the table,” McCarthy said on Feb. 6, the day before Biden’s State of the Union address.

In a statement to 17 News McCarthy emphasized that he would not cut the programs, adding that “House Republicans will work to rein in reckless deficit spending and pay down our debt without negatively impacting any of these programs.”

On the subject of Medicaid, the president’s office said, “Many House colleagues and I believe that Medicaid reforms are needed to ensure that benefits go to those who truly need them, and to end improper payments in this program.”

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