(breitbart) – While the Republican Party fights internally on how to address entitlement benefits like medicare and social security, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the next Republican president “has to be more serious” than previous GOP presidents about addressing the national debt, even if it means making significant changes to Social Security and Medicare.
Pompeo’s comments on the national debt and entitlements came on Friday during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“I stare today at $31 trillion in debt and tell my son, ‘Make sure you work hard, because Social Security may just not be there for you,’” Pompeo told the CPAC audience.
Pompeo also took a jab at his old boss, former President Donald Trump, and criticized his administration for adding $8 trillion to the national debt. Pompeo said:
Every recent administration, Republican and Democrat alike, added trillions in dollars to our debt. That is deeply unconservative. [The] Trump administration, the administration I served, added $8 trillion in new debt. This is indecent and can’t continue. Earning back that trust will be hard work. It won’t just be a campaign speech.
“It is absolutely the case that the next Republican president has to be more serious than previous Republican presidents have ever been about getting our fiscal house in order,” he reportedly said.
“We have to make sure that these programs, Medicare and Social Security, which comprise a significant piece of federal expenditures, are on a sustainable trajectory,” Pompeo said. “We owe it to the next generation to make sure we get that right … conservatives owe that to America.”
Pompeo’s remarks also come as Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have accused Republicans of wanting to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Pompeo has previously supported increasing the retirement age and reducing cost-of-living adjustments while also allowing younger workers to opt out of the program for private retirement accounts, as Real Clear Politics reported. He also voted for a 2015 budget that would have overhauled the Medicare system.
However, Pompeo’s position on entitlement reform is directly opposed to Trump’s stance. Trump urged Republicans to keep cuts to Medicare and Social Security off the table amid debt ceiling negotiations in January.
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree, which is more reckless than anybody’s ever done or had in the history of our country,” Trump said.
Pompeo is rumored to to be joining the 2024 Republican presidential primary, where he would go head to head against Trump, Nikki Haley, and the crop of GOP candidates expected to enter the primary.
Still, Pompeo’s position is also not aligned with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA), who recently said cuts to these entitlement programs are “completely off the table.”
Pompeo joins establishment Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in his calls for overhauling these entitlement programs that tens of millions of Americans use.