White House: Rick Scott ‘national poster-child’ for GOP attacks on Social Security and Medicare 

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (left) speaks during a news conference on spending on December 14, 2022 in Washington. President Joe Biden (right) delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on February 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib/Jacquelyn Martin)

The White House on Thursday pushed back against Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), arguing that he wants to make himself the “national poster-child” for Republican attacks on Social Security and Medicare after the Florida Republican doubled down on his efforts to sunset the programs.

“Rick Scott is in overdrive to make himself the national poster-child for Republicans’ longstanding attacks on Medicare and Social Security benefits,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

Scott last year proposed sunsetting all federal legislation after five years, forcing Congress to reauthorize them. On Wednesday, Scott  defended his plans in a Twitter thread, disputing that his proposals amounted to cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Bates pointed to Scott’s comments on CNN earlier Thursday when the senator said, “If you care about preserving Medicare and Social Security, we will figure out how to start living within our means.”

“This morning, he’s ruling out new revenue from the richest taxpayers for earned benefits, while saying Medicare and Social Security need to ‘live within their means.’ The American people understand him perfectly: this is his newest attack on the benefits they earn throughout their working lives,” Bates said.

The White House pointed out that Scott also has supported some House Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, “which would impose one of the biggest Medicare benefit cuts of all time.”

President Biden on Wednesday during a stop in Wisconsin read directly from a brochure Scott released last year with his proposals, highlighting that he wants to sunset government programs. The president is headed to Scott’s home state of Florida on Thursday to talk more about Social Security and Medicare, during which he is expected to hammer Scott more on his proposal, as he often did in the lead up to the midterm elections.

Scott, in a tweet on Thursday, invited Biden to “debate” the matter – any time or place in the state.

“Since you can’t stop talking about me and lying to Floridians about Social Security and Medicare, I’m sure you’ll accept my invitation to debate the issue. I’ll be back in Florida tonight. You pick the time and place,” Scott said in the tweet.

House Republicans on Tuesday responded raucously when Biden suggested that the GOP wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare, in which Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) shouted “liar” as Biden was making his remarks. 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said cuts to Medicare and Social Security were “off the table” in talks about the country’s debt limit but several Republicans have suggested they wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a default without the promise of spending cuts.

Updated 1:39 p.m.

Tags andrew bates Joe Biden Rick Scott

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