CA Rep. Garamendi: Tax Cuts Put Social Security At Risk

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) on Sunday reiterated his displeasure with the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts - passed by the House earlier this week and signed by President Obama on Friday - and said the legislation will compromise Social Security.

The White House touted the measure - a full extension of the Bush-era cuts, including breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers - as a bipartisan compromise that would avoid raising taxes on the middle class during a recession. Many Democrats, however, had balked at including tax breaks for the rich.

Garamendi took the criticism a step further in an appearance on "America's News Headquarters," saying the cuts put Social Security at risk.

"For the first time ever in the history of Social Security, we are now going to fund Social Security from the general fund," he said. "That is extremely risky."

Garamendi added that he and fellow Democrats had suggested an alternative path, which would provide Social Security benefits for several million who do not draw from the system, but said his measures were ultimately rejected.

Garamendi also asserted that the newly-passed measure would add to the deficit because of a reliance on borrowed money, and that it wouldn't spur job creation. Going forward, Garamendi said, he hopes Congress will make job creation a priority when tackling spending measures.

"This is a great conundrum for America," he said. "Unemployment insurance is targeted and necessary, and that money is immediately spent by the unemployed, and generates additional jobs. And so that is a good way to spend deficit money. On the other hand, spending deficit money by literally cutting the taxes or maintaining the low tax rate on the rich fabulously rich doesn't create jobs."

The lame-duck Congressional session ends this week, and when Congress returns in the new year, it will be with a new Republican majority in the House.

"I'm happy to work with conservatives, the Tea Party and anybody else to be very, very targeted and very careful on how we spend the money," he said, "and at the same time see if we can bring this deficit down."