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Biden blasts Republicans for heckling his State of the Union address.

President Joe Biden chastised Republican lawmakers on Wednesday for booing him during his State of the Union address when he accused them of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, pointing out that several of them have expressed support for such cuts.

“When I mentioned the plans of some of their members and caucus to cut Social Security, Marjorie Taylor and others stood up and said, ‘Liar, liar,'” Biden said during remarks on the economy at an event in DeForest, Wis.

Biden then referred to a plan proposed by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee last year. “I got his brochure right here,” said Biden, who held it up and read from it, “All federal legislation sunsets every five years. If a law is important enough to keep, Congress can pass it again.”

The president stated that this would apply to programmes such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Biden also mentioned how Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has said that such programmes should be reviewed by Congress every year. During his re-election campaign last year, Johnson stated at a campaign stop that Social Security “was set up improperly” and that it would have been better to invest the money in the stock market. Johnson also said on a radio show that Social Security and Medicare should be defunded as “mandatory” programmes and replaced with “discretionary” spending, which means Congress would have to renew them yearly or they would be phased out.

“There’s a senator named Mike Lee who was also yelling, ‘Liar, liar, house on fire’ kind of stuff last night,” Biden said, referring to a 2010 video in which the Utah Republican stated his intention to phase out Social Security.

“They didn’t like it when I called them on it,” Biden said. “Look, many Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare. Let me just say one thing. It’s your dream, but I’m going to turn it into a nightmare with my veto pen.”

Biden stated during his speech on Tuesday night that “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.” As Republicans in the audience began to boo, he deviated from script and said, “As we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are now off the books.”

Biden said on Wednesday that the exchange effectively forced Republicans into a deal. “It appears that we negotiated a deal on the floor of the House of Representatives last night,” Biden said.

“Every single paycheck you’ve had since you started working has been paid into the system,” the president said. “These benefits are yours, the American worker. You earned it, and I will not let anyone take it away from you — not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Biden said he was surprised by some of the GOP jeering the night before, but added that “the vast majority of Republicans weren’t that way.”

“But, you know, there’s still a significant element of what I call the MAGA Republicans — you know, the Make America Great Again Republicans — and I kind of expected [it],” Biden said on the PBS NewsHour.

In a statement issued in response to Biden’s State of the Union address on Wednesday, Scott stated that Biden misunderstood his proposal to sunset all federal legislation in five years. “This is clearly and obviously an idea aimed at dealing with ALL the crazy new laws our Congress has been passing of late. Joe Biden is perplexed… To imply that I want to cut Social Security or Medicare is a lie and a dishonest move… from a very confused President.”

However, the GOP has repeatedly advocated for cuts to entitlement programmes.

When he chaired the House Budget Committee and released budget blueprints in 2012 and 2013, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed turning Medicare into a voucher system. Many Republicans supported the plan at the time.

More recently, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reintroduced legislation last year that he and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, unveiled in 2019 that would allow parents to use a portion of their Social Security benefits for up to three months of paid parental leave following a child’s birth or adoption. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, “parents who choose parental leave would face permanent cuts to their Social Security retirement benefits.”

Last year, the Republican Study Committee, a large group of House conservatives, proposed a budget that would gradually raise the retirement age to collect Social Security benefits based on changing life spans, while reducing benefits in the long run using a new formula.

Many Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have denied supporting cuts to these programmes and have recently stated that such proposals would be off the table in debt-ceiling negotiations.

However, McCarthy is not shared by every Republican. Despite McCarthy’s comments, Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told Bloomberg News this week, “I wouldn’t think it’d be off the table.”

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