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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi harshly condemned President Donald Trump for taking executive action on Saturday in response to Congress’s failure to pass a second coronavirus relief package.
In a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Pelosi claimed the president’s action “endanger[s] seniors’ Social Security and Medicare.” That’s because, in an effort to help Americans financially, Trump signed an executive order deferring payroll taxes — known as the “FICA” tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare — through the end of the year.
The move puts more money directly into the pockets of Americans. Still, Pelosi made it clear she was angered by Trump’s action.
“While he says he’s going to do the payroll tax, what he’s doing is undermining Social Security and Medicare, so these are illusions,” she claimed on “Fox News Sunday.”
As it turns out, Pelosi’s posture is a hypocritical about-face.
What did Pelosi say before?
When Barack Obama, a Democrat, was in the White House, Pelosi supported a unilateral payroll tax reduction — not once, not twice, but three times.
In 2010, Obama announced a payroll tax cut — from 6.2% to 4.2% — that he said would “create jobs and boost economic growth.” When Congress extended the tax cut one year later, Pelosi celebrated the measure as a “victory for all Americans.”
Pelosi said at the time:
Today is a victory for all Americans — for the security of our middle class, for the health of our seniors, and for economic growth and job creation.The American people spoke out clearly and, thanks to President Obama’s leadership, 160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut – nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family. I salute the work of the unified House Democratic caucus on behalf of the American people.
Then, when Congress extended the cut again in 2012, Pelosi justified the action as “necessary because our economy and our people need this boost.”
In an interview with PBS, Pelosi went on to say that she did not think the temporary payroll tax cut endangered Social Security and Medicare — despite now, of course, changing her tune completely.
“The [Social Security and Medicare] trust fund can handle that,” Pelosi explained matter-of-factly.