A section from President Biden’s State of the Union address that aimed to ding Republicans on plans to cut Social Security turned into an unusual moment of live policy discussion — and apparent agreement — during the annual speech.
“Some Republicans want Social Security and Medicare to sunset,” Biden said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shook his head as many Republicans yelled “no,” and some yelled “liar.”
“Anybody who doubts it, contact my office, I’ll give you a copy of the proposal,” Biden said in an ad-libbed line as Republicans continued to shake their heads and boo.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) stood up and pointed her finger at Biden, and yelled “liar” after she sat down.
Some Republicans have floated entitlement reform ideas like raising the Social Security retirement age, but McCarthy has repeatedly said that changes to entitlements are not on the table during debt limit negotiations. Republicans have called for discretionary spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt limit, with an expected early June deadline.
“Well, I’m glad to see — and now, I tell you, I enjoy conversion,” Biden said in reaction, prompting laughs.
“Other Republicans say – I don’t think it’s a majority of you, I don’t even think it’s a significant…”
Jeers from GOP members asking Biden to say a name interrupted him.
“But it’s being proposed by individuals,” Biden said. “I’m politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some.”
Calls of “liar” continued and then lightly died down, as McCarthy slightly shook his head and appeared to softly shush his fellow Republicans.
“So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” Biden said.
“Alright,” he added, with a thumbs-up.
Democrats and some Republicans stood up to cheer.
“Let’s all agree — and we apparently are — let’s stand up for seniors,” Biden said.
McCarthy rose from his seat and applauded, as did members of both parties.
“We will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare,” Biden said. “If anyone tries to cut Social Security — which apparently they’re not going to do — and if anyone tries, and Medicare, I’ll stop them. I’ll veto it.”