Scott invites Biden to debate on Social Security, Medicare

Sen. Rick Scott (left), R-Fla., listens during a news conference on the budget bill, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Joe Biden (right) speaks about his economic agenda at LIUNA Training Center, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in DeForest, Wis. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky/Mariam Zuhaib)

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) invited President Biden to debate over Social Security and Medicare on Thursday while the president is in Florida after days of the White House and the GOP sparring over whether the programs are at risk of facing funding cuts. 

“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,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be back in Florida tonight. You pick the time and place.”

The jousting between the White House and the Florida senator on Thursday comes after President Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, during which the president accused some Republicans of wanting to require Congress to renew Social Security and Medicare for them to continue in exchange for voting to raise the debt ceiling. 

Some Republicans heckled Biden in response, yelling “no,” while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) shouted “liar.” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and other Republicans have said any cuts to the two social programs are “off the table” in negotiations over the debt limit. 

But Biden was referring to a proposal that Scott put forward last year in which he called for all federal legislation to “sunset” every five years. 

Scott defended his plan in light of the criticism he has faced in a Twitter thread on Wednesday, arguing that Biden was “twisting” his words and that the plan presumes Congress would easily reauthorize Social Security and Medicare. 

The Biden administration slammed Scott earlier on Thursday, saying that the Florida senator wants to make himself the “national poster-child” for GOP attacks on the two programs. 

In a statement, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates noted comments that Scott made in an interview with CNN on Thursday in which he said, “If you care about preserving Medicare and Social Security, we will figure out how to start living within our means.” 

“The American people understand him perfectly: this is his newest attack on the benefits they earn throughout their working lives,” Bates said. 

Biden has also pushed back against Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) over comments he made in a video in 2010 in which he said he wanted to “phase out Social Security.” 

Lee defended himself with a statement saying that Biden “left out” key details from his 2010 remarks, including the fact that he wanted to “honor the reliance interests of those who have paid into the system.” 

Biden spoke in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday to discuss ways to strengthen Social Security and Medicare.

Tags Joe Biden medicare Mike Lee President Joe Biden Rick Scott Rick Scott social security State of the Union

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