Nikki Haley calls for changing retirement age

Nikki Haley calls for changing retirement age

Nikki Haley calls for changing retirement age

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Wednesday called for changing the retirement age and limiting Social Security and Medicare benefits for wealthier Americans, staking out a position on the politically controversial issue of entitlement reform that’s already been the subject of attacks from former President Donald Trump.

“The first thing you do is you change the retirement age of the young people coming up so that we can try and have some sort of system for them,” Haley said at a town hall in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Haley’s campaign, however, did not immediately respond when CNN asked what the former South Carolina governor would set as the retirement age.

While calling for changes to salvage the programs that she argued were headed for bankruptcy, Haley said older Americans should not see any cuts to their benefits.

“You reform the entitlements, but you do it in a way that you don’t take anything away from seniors or people who are getting ready to retire. You focus on the new generation, you focus on what’s next,” said Haley, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations under Trump.

Haley’s comments come as President Joe Biden attacks Republicans for wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, and Trump pressures Republicans to support the programs. Trump recently released a video saying Republicans should never vote to cut “a single penny” from those programs, even though his administration’s budget proposals included cuts to such social programs.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, Trump didn’t name any fellow Republicans but alleged some members of his party “want to raise the minimum age of Social Security to 70, 75 or even 80 in some cases” and “are out to cut Medicare to a level that it will no longer be recognizable.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential rival for the GOP 2024 nomination, recently distanced himself from his past support for privatizing Social Security and raising the retirement age. Former Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC last month that Social Security and Medicare need to be “on the table” in dealing with US national debt, while Haley has previously said that “we do have to address entitlements” for future beneficiaries.

Haley on Wednesday also called for expanding packages for Medicare Advantage plans, which are run by private health care insurers, in order to increase competition.

The former South Carolina governor criticized a new proposal that is set to be part of Biden’s 2024 budget that would shore up a key Medicare trust fund by raising taxes on those earning more than $400,000 a year and by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for even more drugs. The proposal is expected to run into a wall in the Republican-controlled House.

“Joe Biden now is basically saying the only way to deal with entitlements is to raise taxes. He doesn’t care that it runs out in five or 10 years, he’s not going to be there anymore,” Haley said.

Kate Sullivan reported from Washington, DC, and Jeff Zeleny reported from Iowa.


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