Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday praised President Biden over his back-and-forth with Republicans on Social Security and Medicare during the State of the Union address one night earlier, saying that they walked into a “trap” he laid for them.
“Joe Biden was so deft. He let them walk into his trap. He rope-a-doped them,” Schumer told “Morning Joe.” “And now all of America has seen the Republican Party say, ‘No, we’re not going to cut Social security and Medicare.’ He did a service.”
During one of the most contentious points in the speech, Biden accused some Republican lawmakers of pushing to sunset the two entitlement programs, prompting head-shakes and boos from the GOP side of the aisle. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was seen visibly shaking his head against Biden’s statement, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shouted that Biden is a “liar.”
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After continued jeering by Republicans, Biden noted that it seemed as though all of the lawmakers were singing the same tune on the pair of entitlement programs.
“So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” Biden said. “Alright,” he said, adding a thumbs-up.
McCarthy has said in recent weeks that cuts to the two programs are off the table in talks to raise the debt limit by early summer, even though some lawmakers called for reforms to them earlier in January.
In addition, the White House found itself in another brouhaha with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who Biden and Democrats have highlighted repeatedly over the last year for his call to sunset all federal legislation after five years, which would include Social Security and Medicare.
After the address, Scott called Biden a “liar” on the issue.
“If they think they can shut me up or intimidate me by lying … I’m here for it,” Scott tweeted Wednesday morning. “I will not be silenced by the Washington establishment.”
Scott doubled down on his sunset proposal later on Wednesday, criticizing the president as “confused” in response to Biden mentioning during his address that some Republicans want to do just that.
“In my plan, I suggested the following: All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” Scott said in a statement after the speech.
Senate Republican leaders, headlined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have distanced themselves from Scott’s plan, which Democrats used in a number of ads leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.