(TAMPA, Fla.) — President Joe Biden traveled to Tampa, Florida, on Thursday, continuing his post-State of the Union blitz in election battleground states, arguing that he would protect Medicare and Social Security while claiming some Republicans, including Florida’s Sen. Rick Scott, want to cut the popular programs.
“Look, I know that a lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare. Well let me say this: If that’s your dream, I’m your nightmare,” Biden said at the University of Tampa.
Biden once again leaned into what called the “spirited debate” at the State of the Union on Tuesday night, when he said “some Republicans” wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare to help balance the nation’s budget, prompting outrage from GOP members, including some calling him a “liar.”
But, Biden noted, Scott, as part of a 12-point economic plan, has proposed sunsetting all federal legislation, including Social Security and Medicare, every five years, putting them to a vote on whether they should continue and at what level of funding. Copies of Scott’s 12-point proposal, as well as Biden’s plan to protect the programs, were placed on chairs at his speech Thursday in the retiree-rich state.
While Biden chose not to name those Republicans on Tuesday night, he has since called out the senators by name for two days in a row when recalling the contentious moment in the chamber.
“I reminded them that Florida’s own Rick Scott, the guy who ran the Senate Campaign Committee for Republicans last year, had a plan to sunset — maybe he’s changed his mind, maybe he’s seen the Lord — but he wanted to sunset it. Meaning if you don’t reauthorize it, it goes away,” Biden explained. “The very idea the senator from Florida wants to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every five years I find to be somewhat outrageous.”
The president again vowed to veto any potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare — as the phrases “protect and strengthen Medicare” and “lowering costs for American families” were displayed behind him.
Scott, meanwhile, has said Biden was “twisting his words” and pushed back against the president on CNN earlier Thursday, claiming that he had no intention of cutting Medicare and Social Security.
“He’s been a complete failure,” Scott said of Biden, “And now he lies about whey want to get done, and I don’t appreciate it.”
Scott also tweeted at Biden Thursday, teasing that the pair debate the issue in Florida.
Defending Biden’s position, the White House released a document earlier Thursday highlighting past comments from Republican lawmakers proposing cutting the programs. GOP leaders have not endorsed Scott’s plan, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying Social Security and Medicare are “off the table” in negotiations with the White House over raising the debt ceiling along with spending cuts Republicans want.
ABC News’ Justin Gomez contributed to this report.
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