President Biden traveled to Florida on Thursday, where he hammered Sen. Rick Scott (R) in his home state, calling Scott’s views on Social Security and Medicare “outrageous.”
“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. So outrageous that you might not even believe it,” Biden told the audience at the University of Tampa.
Biden, like he has in other speeches about protecting Social Security and Medicare, held up a pamphlet of Scott’s proposal and read from it. Brochures on Scott’s 12-point plan were also left on seats in the audience.
Scott last year proposed sunsetting all federal legislation after five years, forcing Congress to reauthorize them each time. On Wednesday, Scott defended his plans in a Twitter thread, disputing that his proposals amounted to cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Biden said that Scott “confirmed that he still likes his proposal” on Wednesday and threatened to veto it if it got to his desk. Meanwhile, Scott, in a tweet earlier on Thursday, invited Biden to “debate” the matter — any time or place in Florida this evening.
Also in his speech at the University of Tampa, Biden embraced the back-and-forth with lawmakers during his State of the Union address, which he also did in his Wednesday speech in Wisconsin.
“You may have seen, we had a little bit of a spirited debate at the State of the Union,” he said, adding that “Republicans seemed shocked” when he read from Scott’s proposal.
“They were offended, ‘liar,’ ‘liar’,” Biden said, mimicking what some Republicans who heckled him during his remarks called out. “There were about four or five, how many? 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.”
He also noted that Sen. Ron Johnson (R), whose home state of Wisconsin he visited the day prior, had previously talked about having the government reauthorize spending programs such as Social Security and Medicare on an annual basis.
“I don’t get it, I really don’t. I don’t know who they think they are,” Biden said. “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.”
The White House earlier on Thursday argued that Scott wants to make himself the “national poster-child” for Republican attacks on Social Security and Medicare.
The president has further leaned into the fight with Republicans over Social Security and Medicare, with him and the White House highlighting multiple times over the last two days the sparring at the State of the Union over it.
Biden in 2020 lost Florida to former President Trump, who now resides in the state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has increasingly become a political rival of Biden’s and is expected to run for president in 2024.
The Sunshine State is the second stop on Biden’s post-State of the Union travel itinerary, after he went to battleground Wisconsin on Wednesday. Other Biden administration officials are also hitting the road, including Vice President Harris, who went to Georgia on Wednesday and is heading to Minnesota this week.