It's hard to know who's having more fun thumping GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida for his proposal to sunset Social Security and Medicare—President Joe Biden or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On the one hand, President Biden was initially cagey about exactly which Republicans wanted to cut the programs and "politely" declined to name names during his State of the Union speech. Then Biden jetted off to the critical battleground state of Wisconsin and never looked back. The principal GOP offenders—Republican Sens. Scott, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of the Badger State—rolled off Biden’s tongue like butter.
Biden quipped that he had originally said "Republicans" wanted to cut the programs when, in actuality, "Leading Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare.”
But hey, why stop at Wisconsin when you go straight to Florida and slay the dragon on his home turf.
Biden's intentions weren’t the least bit subtle when he headed to the University of Tampa to deliver remarks on—you guessed it—Social Security and Medicare.
The White House had helpfully adorned every seat at the venue with pamphlets that resembled Scott's plan, according to The Washington Post, but bore the White House logo on the back. The pamphlets included the text of Scott's 11-point plan stating that "all federal legislation sunsets in 5 years," then the White House added, “This means Medicare and Social Security would be on the chopping block every five years under Senator Rick Scott and Congressional Republicans’ plan.”
From the podium, Biden proceeded to dunk on Scott, who's up for reelection next year in a state with the second-highest percentage of residents 65 or older.
"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 marveled.
"Well, I guarantee you, it will not happen," Biden pledged. "I will veto it. I’ll defend Social Security and Medicare."
Who can blame Biden? It's a total layup that Scott brought upon himself, much to the chagrin of McConnell—who had hoped to keep Senate Republicans' entire agenda under wraps until they seized the majority (or not, as the case may be).
Scott's freelancing in early 2020 sent McConnell dashing to the mics to reassure reporters that his proposal was a total non-starter.
"Let me tell you what would not be part of our agenda," McConnell offered in early March 2022, "We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets social security and Medicare within five years."
McConnell and Scott have been trading barbs ever since, including McConnell's most recent power play of kicking Scott off a key Senate committee.
And likely no one has derived greater pleasure from Biden skewering Scott's plan than McConnell.
During an interview Thursday, McConnell sought to insulate Senate Republicans from the entire fiasco, saying the proposal to sunset Social Security and Medicare wasn't a Republican plan, it was a "Rick Scott plan."
Then McConnell went for the jugular, calling Scott's plan a "bad idea" before contemplating how it might affect his electoral prospects next year.
"I think it will be a challenge for him to deal with this in his own reelection in Florida, a state with more elderly people than any other state in America,” McConnell said.
Wow. Just for a second, try to imagine Majority Leader Chuck Schumer contemplating how something might impact Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s reelection bid in Montana next year. At least McConnell isn't distributing pamphlets… yet.
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Bonus: Keep talking, Scott.
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