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President Biden Called “Liar” at State of the Union But Powers Through

President Biden Called “Liar” at State of the Union But Powers Through

During a time of increased political unrest and divided opinions amongst the public, President Joe Biden utilized his first State of the Union address to a divided Congress to stress the need for fiscal and social alleviation. He emphasized the necessity for improved police training and accountability as well as more equitable taxation by raising taxes for the wealthy. Biden suggested that if Congress works in collaboration, the task his administration began – of generating jobs, modernizing infrastructure, and encouraging technological development – can be accomplished.

 
 
 
 
 
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House and Senate Republican leaders have firmly rejected the idea, originally put forward by Senator Rick Scott of Florida in his 2022 policy document, of making all federal legislation temporary. His suggestion, again put forth in his 2024 reelection platform, would have laws expiring after five years unless Congress were to vote them back into effect.

Despite this, the suggestion does not specifically call for phasing out Social Security or Medicare, and does not have any substantial support from members of Scott’s own party. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2022 made clear that this will not be a part of the Republican agenda.

Some House Republicans have floated the possibility of changing the programs, including raising the eligibility age. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin even went as far as to suggest in August that Congress should vote annually on Social Security and Medicare rather than treat it as an entitlement. However, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy stated definitively during a CBS “Face the Nation” interview in January of 2021 that any potential cuts to Social Security or Medicare are off the table.

On Wednesday, prominent Republicans, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the forefront, stood behind their colleagues who had heckled President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address the prior night. There were disruptions to Biden’s address when he discussed the southern border and the fentanyl crisis, however the cries of “liar” came in response to the president referencing the debt ceiling dispute.

He mentioned that “some Republicans” had suggested renewing Social Security and Medicare every five years, based on the cost-cutting plan set out by Florida Sen. Rick Scott last year; although this plan had not been endorsed by GOP leadership.

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US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

“So, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare off the books now, right?” Biden said as Republicans protested, taking political advantage of the moment. “All right. We got unanimity.”

McCarthy said on many occasions before that Social Security and Medicare were not up for debate, as the president was trying to make political capital from it. He said the Republicans needed to be smart and not take the bait. When Joe Biden claimed that some Republicans considered slashing those programs, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green from Georgia, called out, “Liar!” and McCarthy lightly hushed his party members.

Before Biden’s speech, McCarthy had cautioned his GOP members that the mics were live and the cameras were rolling. He also reminded them to adhere to a “code of ethics” and to not follow the lead of Nancy Pelosi who ripped up a copy of then-President Donald Trump’s prepared remarks after the 2020 State of the Union address.

Biden persevered and successfully completed what many saw as a rehearsal for his future campaign. He took responsibility for the progress that had been made since he was inaugurated and was also very vocal about how there is still much to do. The energetic showdown with Republicans about funding cutbacks stirred enthusiasm inside the White House and showed Biden’s ability to deliver passionate speeches, which could very well become the face of his presidential campaign.

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