Biden to AFL-CIO: ‘How well are you going to sleep at night’ under Scott tax plan?
President Biden on Tuesday questioned how well American workers will be able to sleep at night knowing that federal benefits and programs could be cut if Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) tax plan is passed.
The president warned that Scott’s plan would sunset all federal legislation after five years and require Congress to reauthorize programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“How well are you going to sleep at night knowing that every five years, [Sen.] Ted Cruz [Texas] and the other ultra-MAGA Republicans are going to vote on whether you have Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?” Biden said at the AFL-CIO convention in Philadelphia.
Biden has consistently criticized Scott’s plan in remarks recently and the White House has tied congressional Republicans to the plan. However, other lawmakers have either distanced themselves from the plan or declined to embrace it.
Biden said that it’s unlikely that the bill will wipe out these programs but warned that it could cut benefits.
“The last thing they want to see is workers with power in this country,” he said.
Scott’s 11-point plan states that “all federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” While it doesn’t explicitly call for ending those federal programs, it has been criticized as a move to end such benefits.
In another section, the plan says that “all Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” which the White House has also bashed as a move to require everyone to pay taxes.
During his remarks, Biden read a page from the tax plan, which was met with boos from the audience. He reiterated his criticism of “ultra-MAGA” Republicans, blaming them for stopping his attempts to bring down costs for American families.
“The problem is, Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to stop my plans to bring down costs on ordinary families. That’s why my plan is not finished and why the results aren’t finished either. Jobs are back, but prices are still too high. COVID is down, but gas prices are up,” he said.
The president also touted job recovery since he took office, specifically that 8.7 million new jobs have been created in 16 months, an all-time record.
“Our work isn’t done, but here’s the deal: America still has a choice to make, a choice between a government by the few for the few or a government for all of us, democracy for all of us, an economy where all of us have a fair shot and a chance to earn our place in the economy,” Biden said.
Biden also highlighted a decrease in the deficit during his administration and appeared to bash his predecessor, former President Trump.
“By the way, Republicans like to portray me as some kind of big spender. We have spent a lot of money, but let’s compare the facts. Under my predecessor, the deficit exploded, rising every single year and all of the benefit going to the top 1 percent basically. Under my plan, we cut the deficit by $350 billion, doing all this,” Biden said.
The speech to the AFL-CIO was a high-profile event for the president, giving him the opportunity to emphasize his support for labor as Democrats worry they could lose more blue-collar workers to Republicans in the midterms.
Biden had pledged to be the most pro-union president in U.S. history, and recently he has ramped up his engagements with workers, including by hosting union organizers from Amazon and Starbucks at the White House and other speeches at labor conferences.
He praised the union, thanking it for its support in the 2020 campaign.
“You’re a gigantic reason why I’m standing here, standing here today as your president,” he said.
“You guys don’t understand,” he added. “I don’t think you appreciate how critically important you are. I’m not trying to be nice to you. It’s just a fact.”
The president also called on Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a legislative priority for unions that has stalled in the Senate. The bill would stiffen penalties for employers who violate workers’ rights and strengthen protections for employees against retaliation.