Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Wednesday defended his proposal to sunset all federal legislation after five years and slammed President Biden as “confused” in response to Biden’s claim at the State of the Union address that some Republicans want to sunset Social Security and Medicare.
“In my plan, I suggested the following: All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” Scott said in a statement following Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
Scott last year rankled Republicans when he rolled out a 12-point policy agenda that included the sunset proposal, which Democrats promptly began using as ammunition in the midterms.
“This is clearly and obviously an idea aimed at dealing with all the crazy new laws our Congress has been passing of late,” Scott added, denying Biden’s claim Tuesday evening that Republicans want to end Social Security and Medicare.
Biden said that “instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” eliciting loud boos from GOP lawmakers in the chamber.
Some House Republicans have floated the idea of reforms to entitlement programs as part of debt ceiling negotiations, though Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and others insist cuts aren’t on the table.
Speaking over the raucous response, the president insisted, “Anybody who doubts it, contact my office, I’ll give you a copy — I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”
“It is being proposed by individuals. I’m politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some of you,” Biden said.
That barb infuriated Scott, the former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who called the claim “a lie” and “a dishonest move … from a very confused president.”
“I will not be intimidated by Joe Biden twisting my words,” he declared and pushed back by arguing that Democrats effectively cut Medicare when they gave the federal government power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices in the Inflation Reduction Act.
He says that will lead to less money going to pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs and therapies.
Scott argues that his plan anticipates that Congress would quickly renew popular programs such as Medicare and Social Security — as well as defense programs — before they have a chance to sunset.
“Does he think I also intend to get rid of the U.S. Navy? Or the Border Patrol? Or air traffic control, maybe? This is the fake, gotcha BS that people hate about Washington. I’ve never advocated cutting Social Security or Medicare and never would,” Scott said.