Pence splits with Trump on issue of Social Security as 2024 elections heat up

With the 2024 elections heating up, former Vice President Mike Pence is making clear he has his own thoughts when it comes to such hot-button issues as the debt limit and Social Security.

Speaking Thursday on Fox News’s “America Reports,” Pence departed from former President Donald Trump’s vow to reject Social Security reforms in an effort to bring down the national debt.

(Video: Fox News)

“[T]he Constitution requires that we maintain the full faith and credit of the United States,” Pence told co-anchor Sandra Smith.

“I commend Speaker McCarthy on the way that he’s engaged President Biden and said, look, we have to have budget cuts. We have to have reforms that are associated with it,” he continued. “But it’s enormously important that we pay the nation’s bills. And I’m confident that they will do that.”

He warned viewers of the “paralysis” in D.C.

“I will tell you that to have a national debt the size of our nation’s economy is unsustainable,” he stated. “The last time this happened was after World War II, and the only way we got over it was through sound economic policies and a postwar booming economy.”

“Now we literally have a paralysis in Washington, D.C. that says we’re never even going to talk about reforming 70% of the federal budget,” he explained. “That’s what entitlements– Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are all in that cash. And we simply are not going to restore the fiscal health of this nation by simply nibbling at the edges of the federal budget.”

Pence then proposed “a better deal.”

“I submit to you that we have to have a conversation about reforming entitlements in the days ahead. I think we can replace the New Deal programs with a better deal,” he suggested. “I think in Social Security, you can keep all the promises that you made to seniors. People that will retire within the next 20 years– No changes, but to give options to younger Americans to invest a portion of their Social Security in a private savings account and get a better deal, I think is an idea whose time will come.”

According to Pence, “It’s all about leadership.”

“We’ve achieved no major legislative changes in this country’s history in the last century that weren’t bipartisan,” he said. “And I think we have got to produce leadership in this country that will square up with the American people and say we have a massive debt facing our children and those two new grandchildren that I just got last week. … There’s a way we can do it, and still keep all the promises that we made to seniors, but it’s going to take leadership. It’s going to take vision.”

“I’m going to be a part of that conversation one way or the other,” he stated.

Co-anchor John Roberts noted Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) recent claim that “all federal legislation should sunset within five years, even though he says ‘I don’t want to get rid of social security.'”

On Truth Social, Trump blasted Scott for his suggestion.

“Be careful, Rick, and most importantly, fight for Social Security and Medicare,” he warned. “THERE WILL BE NO CUTS!”

Roberts said President Biden would now put Pence in the same basket as Scott and accuse them both of wanting to destroy Social Security.

“This is a dangerous topic to deal with,” Roberts said, “particularly if you are a Republican. But if you can’t get buy-in from the Democrats, which you never will, why even talk about it?”

Pence replied that his “two new granddaughters are a big reason why.”

“I think Americans of every age understand we cannot stay on the path that we are on,” he stated. “But the falsehood is the idea that you’ve got to ask seniors or people that are going to retire in the next 20 years to make any changes. You don’t — you can offer alternatives to younger Americans who won’t think about retirement for decades, give them a better deal, and still keep all the promises we made to seniors. I just think — I think you have to play it straight with the American people, and with a mountain range of debt facing those little granddaughters of mine, I’m going to be a part of that conversation.”


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