Thursday, President Joe Biden traveled to Florida to position the Democrat party as the sole protectors of Medicare and Social Security in an attempt to reclaim the state, whose population has a substantial population of retirees who rely on the programs.
Speaking to a group of supporters in the state, which has leaned toward the GOP in recent years, the president outlined a list of his administration’s achievements, including allowing the federal government to impose price caps on insulin and negotiating Medicare drug prices.
Biden doubled down his widely-disputed claims that Republicans are planning on rolling back those efforts while seeking cuts to the popular social safety nets.
“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,” said Biden.
The president’s trip is part of a crusade across at least 20 states by President Biden and members of his Cabinet after his Tuesday State of the Union speech to Congress.
Biden has been readying to launch his re-election campaign. Democratic strategists and top aides continue to debate how earnestly he would campaign in Florida, which was last won by a Democratic presidential candidate when President Barack Obama took it in 2012.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are early frontrunners in the fight for the GOP nomination for the next presidential election in 2024. Both Republicans would have a home-state advantage over the president in Florida.
However, President Biden believes his policies could resound with voters in the state. Polls show Democrats are believed to be more likely to protect the Medicare and Social Security programs, which provide healthcare and basic income to senior citizens. One in five Florida residents is over age 65.
Biden seeks to link Republicans to the idea of cutting funding to social programs
Biden has aimed to link Republicans to the idea of cutting funding for both social safety net programs as part of his negotiations with GOP members over increasing the U.S.’s $31.4 trillion debt limit.
Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, has repeatedly said that his party has no plans to cut back on the nation’s two most extensive benefits programs.
The president drew boisterous boos and shouts of “you’re a liar” from Republicans at his state of the Union address when he said some conservatives want to end Medicare and Social Security. He then took their angry response as a deal to protect both problems.
“So, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now, right? All right. We’ve got unanimity,” said Biden. “I enjoy conversion.”
The White House has not provided any detailed plans on how to fund the programs when they become insolvent, which is predicted to be as soon as 2028 in the case of the hospitalization benefits of Medicare.
At an event in Tampa, the White House handed out a pamphlet titled “A 12-Point Plan to Rescue America: U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL),” highlighting Scott’s proposal to require Social Security and Medicare to be reauthorized every five years.
“The very idea of the Senator from Florida wants to put Social Security, Medicare on the chopping block every five years I find to be somewhat outrageous,” said Biden.
Senator Scott said Biden was distorting the intention of his plan and released an ad this week attacking Biden and calling on him to resign and accusing him of being a danger to Social Security and Medicare.