If you thought Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s budget slashing spree was over, think again.
Paul said Thursday that he will introduce another bill “in the next two or three weeks” that would address the Social Security entitlement program by raising the age of eligibility for younger workers and use “means testing” to determine if a citizen with high income is eligible to receive benefits.
“We are going to propose separate legislation sometime in the next two to three weeks that will gradually raise the age,” Paul said. “The debt commission waits until the year 2050 to begin raising the age. We’re going to do it much quicker, although we have promised near retirees not to do it to them so we are going to try and have a little bit of delay, but then we’re going to try raising the age.”
The announcement comes just days after Paul released a plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget, dismantle most of the Department of Education and completely eliminate Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development. Social Security and Medicare were noticeably absent from the proposal.
Paul touted a similar plan many times while on the campaign trail last year, and said he was confident he could get workers to support it.
“You tell a 25-year-old that he’s going to be 70 when he gets Medicare or Social Security and I think he’ll say, ‘No big deal, I wasn’t positive I was going to get it anyway.’ So I think young people are going to be more than willing to embrace this,” he said. “Young people are more than willing and ready.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report this week showing that Social Security will face a deficit in 2011, five years earlier than previous estimates.
Paul’s call for a re-examination of the nation’s entitlement programs is likely to cause contention within his own party. House Speaker John Boehner apologized Wednesday for making the very same suggestion last year.
“I made a mistake when I did that, because I think having the conversation about how big the problem is is the first step,” Boehner told CNN. “And once the American people understand how big the problem is, then you can begin to outline an array of possible solutions.”
Paul said that his office could not yet provide specific details as to how fast or when the changes would occur.
Caitlin Emma contributed to this report.