The White House has tripled down on a claim President Biden made during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, that congressional Republicans want to slash several programs including Social Security and Medicare.
In a press release early Thursday morning, the White House said Biden will be visiting Tampa, Florida, later in the day where he will contrast “his commitment to protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security and lowering prescription drug prices, with Congressional Republicans’ plans to cut these programs.”
“President Biden has taken action to strengthen Medicare and protect Social Security – bedrock programs that Americans have paid into and that tens of millions of seniors depend on to support their livelihoods. Congressional Republicans, however, have a different record,” the White House’s statement read.
It continued: “For years, Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to cut Medicare and Social Security, move toward privatizing one or both programs, and raise the Social Security retirement age and Medicare eligibility age. And just last week, House Republicans introduced legislation to repeal President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which would give tens of billions of dollars in subsidies back to Big Pharma, raise seniors’ prescription drug prices, and raise taxes on an estimated 14.5 million people – all while increasing the deficit.”
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The press release came after President Biden claimed during Tuesday’s State of the Union address that Republicans were trying to slash the key programs.
“In the last two years, my administration has cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history,” Biden said at the Capitol Tuesday, while contrasting his spending with the Trump administration. “Those are the facts. Check it out.”
These “facts” have since been labeled as “false” and “needs context” by fact-checkers.
He added: “Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what those plans are.”
“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” Biden claimed as he was drowned out by Republicans booing him. “That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away.”
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The president appeared to know the line was more theatrics than facts as he acknowledged Congress was in agreement to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched.
“I’m not saying it’s a majority of you. I don’t even think it’s even a significant – but it’s being proposed by individuals,” he said. “I’m politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some of you.”
“Anyone who doubts it, contact my office and I will give you a copy of the proposal,” Biden continued.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also defended the remarks during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.
This after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., screamed out “liar” during the president’s speech.
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Others joined in on social media during and after Biden’s speech.
“The President has devolved into just lying shamelessly about GOP positions to frighten seniors citizens into voting for him,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted.
The White House statement appeared to offer some defense to Biden’s claim, noting Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee and John Thune have criticized the programs.
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The statement highlighted Sen. Lee, R-UT, said in Feb. 2010: “One thing that you probably haven’t ever heard from a politician: it will be my objective to phase out Social Security. To pull it up by the roots, and get rid of it.”
The statement also highlighted a plan from Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., that would “put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the chopping block every five years, which would put the health and economic security of 63 million Medicare beneficiaries, 69 million Medicaid beneficiaries and 65 million Social Security beneficiaries at risk.”
Biden’s accusation is a talking point that has been debunked by fact-checkers before. His claim, and the White House’s defense, that “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset” is based on a legislative agenda released by Scott last year.
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He proposed that “all federal legislation sunsets in 5 years.”
“If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” Scott said at the time.
His proposal was widely rejected by Republicans and denounced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The Washington Post and other fact-checkers declared the Democrats’ claim to be “false.”
President Biden, when he was serving as a U.S. senator, previously proposed similar legislation.
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The White House also criticized the Republican effort to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which is mostly environmental legislation.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
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