Democrats, including President Biden and former President Barack Obama, have been accusing Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security, but GOP leaders and officials are rejecting such claims as “scare tactics” and “lies.”
Over the weekend, Obama screamed against Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., during an event in Milwaukee, implying he is against Social Security.
“Some of your parents are on Social Security. Some of your grandparents are on Social Security. You know why they have Social Security? Because they worked for it,” Obama said Saturday. He then added, “And if Ron Johnson does not understand that, if he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands making sure that seniors who’ve worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity and respect—he’s not the person who’s thinking about you, and knows you, and sees you, and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin!”
On Monday, Johnson rejected this idea completely, saying that Democrats are pushing falsehoods because they are unable to defend their own policies.
“All they do is they trot out the same old lies, you know, the Republicans want to end Social Security, we want to put it on the chopping block. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Johnson told Fox News. “We want to save social security. We want to bring down inflation. We want to reduce massive deficit spending that sparked inflation.”
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel also pushed back against Democrats’ Social Security claims.
“I say that’s scare tactics,” McDaniel told “Fox News Sunday,” adding that “people on fixed incomes right now are dealing with a huge issue with inflation.”
President Biden is expected to join the attack with a Tuesday speech in Florida addressing Social Security and Medicare. Biden has already repeated the claim that the programs would be at risk if Republicans gain power.
The basis for the claim appears to be a policy document detailing Sen. Rick Scott’s “Plan to Rescue America.” One part of the plan says, “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” Theoretically, this would include Social Security, although Scott has gone on record saying he has every intention of keeping it.
Biden cited this plan during a speech in Syracuse, but he made it sound like that plan only dealt with sunsetting Social Security and Medicare, not all programs.
“Unless we yield to their demands to cut Social Security and Medicare, they’re determined to cut Social Security and Medicare, and they’re willing to take down the economy over it,” Biden said.
When asked Sunday on CNN if he planned to eliminate Social Security, Scott said, “Absolutely not.” Pressed on if he supported reducing Social Security or Medicare benefits to keep the programs going, he similarly said, “No, and I don’t know one Republican who does,” adding that President Biden did support such an idea when he was in the Senate.
This is not the first time Democrats have told voters that Republicans want to cut Social Security.
“Without fail during a tough election season, Democrats bring up Social Security,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote in 2020. That line was part of an analysis in which Kessler awarded the Biden campaign Four Pinocchios for an ad in which they said that then-President Donald Trump would cut Social Security. Kessler took the campaign to task for basing their assertion on “a plan that does not currently exist.”