Biden and Republicans Exchange Over Future of Social Security and Medicare
President Joe Biden’s exchange with Republicans on the House floor during his State of the Union address over cutting Medicare and Social Security was a reminder of the ongoing debate over the future of the two programs. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) proposed a plan last year which calls for taking a vote on all federal programs every five years, which was a cause of much debate.
Biden referred to Scott’s plan in his speech, saying, “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.” The President's comment was met with boos from many Republican lawmakers, to which he jokingly replied, “So, folks, as we all apparently agree: Social Security and Medicare is off the books now.”
Scott’s plan, which has been widely rejected by most Republicans, does not single out Medicare and Social Security specifically. But as it stands, if the plan were to pass, it would mean these programs, which are established by federal legislation, would disappear unless renewed every five years.
In response to Biden’s comments, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) accused Biden of lying about his stance on Social Security. Johnson has repeatedly said that his proposal to require annual approval for Social Security spending does not mean he wants to put the programs on the “chopping block” or “cut” it.
In an interview with WISN-AM in Milwaukee Thursday morning, Johnson stood by his plan, saying it was time to change the way Medicare and Social Security are funded. He also said that he was warning of the risk of a high altitude nuclear blast that could create an electromagnetic pulse that could wipe out electronics, and that the U.S. has not prepared for it.
Biden has also been vocal about his commitment to protecting Social Security benefits. In his State of the Union address, he said, “I know that a lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security, Medicare. Well let me say this: If that's your dream, I'm your nightmare.”
The future of Social Security and Medicare is of utmost importance to millions of Americans, and it is important that politicians come up with a plan that is fair, equitable, and sustainable. It appears that the debate over how to save these programs is far from over.
0. “Biden’s claim that Republicans want to sunset Medicare and Social Security needs context” CBS News 8, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/verify/bidens-claim-that-republicans-want-to-sunset-medicare-and-social-security-needs-context/536-9fcec101-b734-4488-b8c7-7598a992c0ac
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