Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
President Joe Biden’s calls for civility and cooperation with Republicans have proven short on staying power. Thursday, he visited Florida to paint conservatives as villains out to harm the elderly.
The president repeated his State of the Union call for Democrats and Republicans to work together over the next two years, then lambasted his political adversaries as out to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
It was a rhetorical approach as jarring as it was disjointed — the president continues to struggle with public speaking — but it was also in keeping with the decades-old practice of Democrats using Social Security and Medicare as equal parts weapon and shield.
“When I meet with the … new Republican leadership, they say they’re not going to raise taxes on anybody at all, and they’re not going to do that, they’re just going to cut,” Biden said during a speech at the University of Tampa. “And they say, ‘What would you cut?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll start off, if you — if you don’t — if you don’t stop trying to do away with the legislation I did to hold Big Pharma accountable, I’m going to cut, by hundreds of billions of dollars, the debt.’”
Biden later added, “Republicans — Republican senators and congressmen — and there are a lot of good ones — are still threatening to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains this legislation.
“If Republicans in Congress have their way, the power we just gave Medicare to negotiate lower — lower prescription drug prices goes away. The $2,000 cap next year on prescription drugs goes away. The $35-a-month insulin limitation goes away.”
Biden is banking on seniors, and Americans in general, viewing a granular portion of the Inflation Reduction Act as important enough to support the entire bill, which experts of all political stripes have predicted will have no discernible effect on inflation.
But, Biden’s claim about controlling drug costs is misleading. As previously reported by FISM, there is no immediate relief in sight for seniors struggling with drug costs.
The Inflation Reduction Act’s $2,000 prescription cap doesn’t take effect until 2025 and Medicare will not be able to establish a negotiated price on any drugs until 2026. Even then, only 10 drugs will be affected.
Biden similarly sought to paint Republicans as out to get seniors’ Social Security checks.
“Folks on fixed incomes relying on Social Security and Medicare to get by, they deserve a greater sense of security and dignity. That’s what my plan offers,” Biden said early in his speech.
Then, in a repeat of remarks made during the State of the Union, Biden proceeded to name Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson as leading culprits out to cut aid to seniors.
Biden pointed to Scott’s 12-point plan, a key tenet of which would be “sunsetting” all federal legislation every five years.
“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 said.
Scott has spent the last several days firing back at Biden.
“In my plan, I suggested the following: All federal legislation sunsets in five years,” Scott said in a statement in the hours following the State of the Union. “If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” He added, “This is clearly and obviously an idea aimed at dealing with all the crazy new laws our Congress has been passing of late.”
Thursday, the Florida senator increased the intensity of his rebuttal, challenging Biden to a debate over the two men’s record on Social Security and sharing a video of then-Senator Biden demanding a freeze on Social Security.
“@JoeBiden just turned down my invitation to debate his record on Social Security and Medicare,” Scott tweeted. “Makes you wonder if he’s more afraid of facing me or facing himself…”
.@JoeBiden just turned down my invitation to debate his record on Social Security and Medicare.
Makes you wonder if he's more afraid of facing me or facing himself… pic.twitter.com/NeEMp9KPJb
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 9, 2023
Late Thursday, Scott posted, “@JoeBiden is a TOTAL hypocrite. Here’s the truth: Biden has fought harder to cut Social Security and Medicare than he has to secure our border or restore our economy.”
.@JoeBiden is a TOTAL hypocrite.
Here’s the truth: Biden has fought harder to cut Social Security and Medicare than he has to secure our border or restore our economy. pic.twitter.com/BDmVQnq3J7
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 10, 2023
Johnson, whose state the president visited Wednesday, was similarly curt in his response to Biden’s allegations.
“Wisconsin will always welcome @POTUS, but it would be nice if he was honest about how much harm his policies have done to Wisconsinites and America,” Johnson tweeted Wednesday. “Americans didn’t buy his spin last night [during the State of the Union]. The Wisconsin people won’t buy it today.”