New Dem ad in Pa. hits GOP plan to sunset Medicare, Social Security | Thursday Morning Coffee

Abortion rights are on the ballot on May 17. But Dems aren’t letting voters forget about these key pocketbook issues

May 12, 2022 7:14 am

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the head of the U.S. Senate GOP’s reelection wing (screen capture).

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With the fight over abortion rights justifiably front and center as Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary closes in, national Democrats have launched a new ad blitz to remind Keystone State voters that other critical issues also are on the ballot next week.

Namely, Social Security and Medicare — two key prongs of the the third-rail that is the nation’s social safety net.

Back in March, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the head of the Senate GOP’s 2022 re-election effort, dropped an extensive policy agenda that called for, among other things, a tax hike on the poorest Americans and a plan to  sunset such bedrock social programs as Medicare and Social Security unless they win reauthorization.

Despite the apparent opposition of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and other senior Republicans, Democrats have been dining out on Scott’s plan for the last two months.

And earlier this weekPresident Joe Biden turned the Sunshine State lawmaker into the Dems’ bete noire in a critical midterm cycle.

“Republicans in Congress are so deeply committed to protecting big corporations and CEOs that they would rather see taxes on working American families and try to depress their wages than take on inflation, never mind the fact that many of these companies are recording record profit margins even as … they raise prices [by] record amounts,” Biden said during a Tuesday speech outlining the administration’s inflation-fighting plans, according to Roll Call.

new Democratic National Committee ad, launching today in Pennsylvania and seven other, key battleground states, keeps up that drumbeat of criticism, warning a critical audience — seniors on Facebook — that their “hard-earned benefits” are under attack by the GOP.

Protesters supporting “Medicare for All” hold a rally outside PhRMA headquarters April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images).

“Pennsylvania seniors depend on the Medicare and Social Security benefits they’ve been paying into for decades to access life-saving care and afford basic necessities – and Republicans are putting their right to these hard-earned benefits in jeopardy,” DNC spokesperson Brooke Goren said in an email first obtained by the Capital-Star.

Despite the criticism, Scott hasn’t backed away from his plan. This week, he invited Biden, whom he’s described as “unfit for office” to Florida for a debate over his agenda, Roll Call reported.

With control of the U.S. House and Senate on the line, and critical races, including Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat up for grabs on Tuesday, Democrats are hoping their warning about the GOP attack on their benefits will resonate with a key bloc.

“Without these crucial programs, more than 2.75 million Pennsylvanians could stand to face higher costs, and Democrats are committed to spending every day between now and November making sure that voters know it,” Goren said.

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Our Stuff.
Families with children affected by COVID-19 closings should soon see relief with federal approval of a program that will cover the costs of school meals after the pandemic disrupted traditional operations, Marley Parish reports.

Regulatory changes to a decades-old law governing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage rules will take effect on Aug. 5, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced on Wednesday. Cassie Miller has the details.

U.S. Senate Democrats failed Wednesday to muster the votes to enshrine nationwide abortion protections, but are vowing more action. Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators, Democrat Bob Casey, and Republican Pat Toomey, were on opposite sides of the bill, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jennifer Shutt and I report.

As lawmakers in battleground states debate election law changes, election officials are appealing to them to not make their jobs any harder than they already areCapital-Star Democracy Reporter Kira Lerner reports.

President Joe Biden’s administration will seek to hasten construction of roads, bridges, wind farms and more by tweaking the federal review process for environmental and other permitsCapital-Star Washington Reporter Jacob Fischler reports.

Youth programs in Pittsburgh have gotten a boost from state gun violence-prevention funding, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: With gun violence on the rise nationwide, Rob Schofield, of our sibling site, NC Policy Watchissues another plea to find common ground. And former President Donald Trump’s election lies are truth for far too many 2022 GOP hopefuls, opinion regular Mark O’Keefe writes.

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The state’s PSERS school pension system might sue its consultant for botching its profits figure, the Inquirer reports.

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Kathy Barnette’s late surge has turned the Republican nominating contest into a dead heat with less than a week to go, the Post-Gazette reports.

WHYY-FM looks into where Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate hopefuls are getting their money. 

And much of that money is coming from out-of-state donors, the Bucks County Courier Times reports. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has reserved $53 million in battleground state ads, Politico reports. 

Tuesday’s primary election could mean the end of politics as they know it for the state’s Democrats and Republicans, PennLive’s John Baer opines.

GOP governor candidate Jake Corman will drop out of the race and endorse Lou BarlettaLancasterOnline reports.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin is sticking with his plan to have county detectives monitor drop boxes, the Morning Call reports.

PoliticsPA headed to the ‘T’ to talk to rural voters ahead of primary day.

The state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has taken Lancaster County’s commissioners to court over removing its drop boxWITF-FM reports.

Gov. Tom Wolf stumped in Luzerne County on Wednesday for his education spending plan, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

What Goes On
The desk is clear. Enjoy the silence.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
5:30 p.m.: Reception for state House candidate Dave Madsen
6 p.m.: Reception for Roni Green
Hit both events, and give at the max, and you’re out a comparably modest $7,500 today.

As of this writing, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Best wishes go out to Danielle Floyd, of state Senate Democrats, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s one from Milky Chance for your Thursday. It’s ‘Synchronize.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
After losing Sidney Crosby to injury in the second period, the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped  a 5-3 decision to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, extending their Eastern Conference playoff series.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.