Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw pulled no punches in going after Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton for “looking for sound bites for your failing presidential run” during a Budget Committee hearing Wednesday.
Moulton, who announced his presidential campaign on April 22, was at odds with Crenshaw during a hearing on retirement security. The presidential wannabe accused Crenshaw of trying to slash benefits for seniors. Then he got peeved at American Enterprise Institute scholar Andrew G. Biggs when the witness was reluctant to testify about topics he deemed outside of his area of expertise.
“Mr. Moulton, I’ll help answer your question since you didn’t want to direct it at me. I don’t think this is as helpful to your presidential run as you might think,” Crenshaw said when Moulton had expended his five minutes.
“If you have to solve the problem of Social Security in a progressive way, which I think we actually agree on, what is the fairest way to do it? Do you want to increase benefits for millionaires?” he added. “That’s the essential question. And your answer to that is: Yes, you do. Some progressive. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s bad for the economy, but I know you were looking for sound bites for your failing presidential run. Good luck with that.”
Crenshaw used his time during the hearing to discuss what he saw at the pitfalls of the Social Security 2100 Act. More than 200 House Democrats are cosponsors of the bill, which would give an increase for all beneficiaries that is the equivalent of 2% of the average benefit, according to Democratic Connecticut Rep. John Larson’s website.
“Social Security is one of the most important issues that my generation faces. We all agree it’s on a path to insolvency. Americans aren’t saving enough. We aren’t secure enough in our retirement,” Crenshaw said.
He said the Social Security proposal was “transferring wealth from the young to the old.”
“You’re taking money out of people’s paychecks when they need it most, when they’re trying to start a family, start a business, buy a home or save for retirement,” Crenshaw continued. “According to the 2100 Act this money would be transferred mostly to wealthy retirees. … This is deeply unfair, and it’s bad for economic growth.”
Moulton then hit back at Crenshaw.
“He was talking about how there are two ways to address the Social Security crisis: he said specifically we can make Social Security solvent through tax increases, or we can make Social Security solvent through benefits. It seems to me that what he meant to say was cutting benefits,” Moulton said.
Moulton is struggling to differentiate himself from some of the other Democratic candidates in the 2020 race. Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan has also positioned himself against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, at 45, is around Moulton’s age. Moulton has also been compared to 2020 hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
Buttigieg, 37, is also a veteran with an Ivy League background.
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