Democrats have spent much of the midterm campaign arguing that they will protect Social Security and warning that Republicans will threaten the program if they take control of Congress. As Politico reported last week that several Republicans throughout the election season have hinted at wanting to cut Social Security, although many of them have walked back those proposals.
Now, President Biden has forcefully defended Social Security in a public speech.
“Folks, you know, the senator in charge of reelecting the United States senators — Senator Scott — has proposed the plan where Social Security, Medicare every five years on the chopping block. It means every five years, you either cut it, it reduces, or completely eliminate it — Social Security and Medicare,” the president said in remarks issued by the White House.
“And, by the way, then there’s Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He thinks waiting five years — every five years is too long to wait. Not a joke. These are actually in writing, okay? He wants to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every single year in every budget. If Congress doesn’t vote to keep it, goodbye.”
“What do you think they’re going to do?,” Biden added at the White House Tuesday. Per the New York Times, while speaking, Biden “brandished” a copy of the “12 Point Plan to Rescue America,” the messaging document released earlier this year by Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) that proposed “sunsetting” all legislation after five years.
When Scott’s plan was first announced Democrats pounced on it and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader, quickly distanced himself from the document which has not been a prominent part of the Republicans’ argument in the midterm elections.
Last week House Republicans unveiled their own list of policy priorities, the “Commitment to America.” The list includes a promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare,” although it doesn’t specify how exactly it would do so.
Biden also addressed that in his White House speech.
“It’s a thin set of policy goals with little or no detail that Republicans say they’ll pursue if they regain control of the Congress. In the course of nearly an hour, here are a few of the things that we didn’t hear: We didn’t hear the words ‘Medicare’ or ‘Social Security.’”
“I have a different idea. I’ll protect those programs. I’ll make them stronger. And I’ll lower your cost to be able to keep them.”
There are several reform plans currently in Congress that would extend Social Security’s solvency further into the future, although Biden has not endorsed any of them specifically.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.