Biden calls out Republicans who insulted his State of the Union address
President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged Republican lawmakers who dented when he accused them of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare under his State of the Union addresswhich points out that several of them have expressed support for the cuts.
“My Republican friends, they seemed shocked when I brought up the plans of some of their members and their caucus to cut Social Security, and Marjorie Taylor and others stood up and said, ‘Liars, liars,'” Biden said in remarks on the economy at . an event in DeForest, Wis.
Biden then pointed to a plan that Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., floated last year when he was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I have his pamphlet right here,” said Biden, who held it up and read from it, “All federal legislation lapses every five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”
That would apply, the president said, to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Biden also mentioned how Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has said Congress should reconsider such programs every year. During Johnson’s competitive re-election run last year, he said at a campaign stop that Social Security “was set up wrong” and that it would have been better to invest the money in the stock market. Johnson too told a radio show that Social Security and Medicare should be rejected as “mandatory” programs and subject to “discretionary” spending, meaning Congress would have to renew them annually or they would end.
“There’s a senator named Mike Lee who also shouted ‘Liars, liars, house on fire’ last night,” Biden said, alluding to a 2010 video that recently surfaced in which the Utah Republican said it was his goal to phase out Social Security.
“They certainly didn’t like me calling them on it,” Biden said. “Look, a lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare. Well, let me just say this. It’s your dream, but I’m going to make it a nightmare with my veto pen.”
During his speech Tuesday night, Biden said that “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to go down every five years.” As Republicans in the crowd began booing loudly, he went off script and fired back: “As we all seem to agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now.”
On Wednesday, Biden said the exchange effectively wrapped The Republicans strike a deal. “It looks like we negotiated a deal last night on the floor of the House of Representatives,” Biden said.
“You’ve all paid into the system every paycheck you’ve had since you started working,” the president said. “These benefits belong to you, the American worker. You earn them, and I will not allow anyone to cut them — not today, not tomorrow, never, ever.”
Biden said in an interview Wednesday that he was surprised by some of the GOP’s taunts the previous night, while adding that “the vast majority of Republicans were not that way.”
“But, you know, there’s still a significant element of what I call the MAGA Republicans — you know, Make America Great Again Republicans — and I sort of expected [it]” Biden said PBS NewsHour.
Responding Wednesday to Biden’s State of the Union address, Scott said in a statement that Biden has misunderstood his proposal to expire all federal law in five years. “This is clearly an idea aimed at dealing with ALL of the crazy new laws our Congress has passed lately. Joe Biden is confused … suggesting that means I’m going to cut Social Security , or that Medicare is a lie, and is a dishonest move … by a very confused president.”
But the GOP has repeatedly pushed cuts to entitlement programs.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for example, proposed turning Medicare into a voucher system when he chaired the House Budget Committee and released budget plans in 2012 and 2013. It was a plan supported by many Republicans at the time.
Later, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reinstated legislation last year, which he and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, unveiled in 2019, which would allow parents to use a portion of their Social Security benefits for up to three months of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Center for Budget and Political Priorities, a progressive think tank, said that under such measure“parents who choose parental leave will face permanent cuts to their Social Security retirement benefits.”
Last year, the Republican Investigative Committee, a large group of House conservatives, also proposed one budget it would gradually raise the retirement age to collect Social Security, based on changing life expectancy, and lower long-term benefits using a new formula.
Many Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have refused to support cuts to these programs and have recently said those proposals would be off the table in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.
But not all Republicans agree with McCarthy. This week, Republican House Select Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told Bloomberg News that despite McCarthy’s comments, “I wouldn’t think it would be off the table.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com