Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green called Biden a “liar” after he accused the GOP of wanting to cut Medicare and Social Security.
- GOP lawmakers had previously been floating cuts to those programs during debt limit negotiations.
- But McCarthy said cuts to Medicare and Social Security are “off the table.”
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene joined fellow Republicans in shouting down President Joe Biden during the State of the Union, a raucous moment that underlines the tension on key economic issues.
“You lie, you lie,” Greene shouted from the back of the House chamber. She was far from the only House Republican who was outraged at Biden’s suggestion that the GOP would end Medicare or Social Security, massively popular federal programs.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was even caught on camera mouthing what appeared to be, “No” as he shook his head.
Biden was talking about Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s pre-midterm plan that called for all federal laws to be sunset within five years unless Congress voted for them. Scott, who at the time was in charge of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, was denounced by senior members of his party, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
—CSPAN (@cspan) February 8, 2023
“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, some Republicans, want Medicare and Social Security to sunset — I’m not saying it’s a majority,” Biden said before the boos grew louder.
Biden has argued that Scott’s plan is indicative of the broader GOP’s views. On Tuesday night, he tried to be clear that it was more a limited view within the Republican party but even that was not enough to tamp down the outcry.
The president was defiant in face of the outburst, responding, “Anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy.”
After the back and forth, Biden said that the two sides had found “unanimity,” pleased that the GOP agreed it would not touch the entitlement programs. McCarthy had promised as much during a speech of his own on Monday night.
Potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security have surrounded negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. With Republicans holding a slim majority over the House, many of them expressed the desire to use raising the debt limit as a bargaining chip to achieve spending cuts, with some of them throwing Medicare and Social Security into the mix.
Democratic lawmakers, including Biden’s administration, slammed the idea that the GOP was considering cuts to those programs, and even former President Donald Trump urged Republicans to leave Medicare and Social Security out of debt limit talks.
As Insider previously reported, McCarthy said cuts to those programs were “off the table,” but some GOP lawmakers still wanted the solvency of the programs to be included in a potential debt limit deal. McCarthy has failed to specify what exactly he wants to include in spending cuts, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned him that “extraordinary measures” to keep the government on top of paying its bills will run out this summer — and the debt limit needs to be raised before then.