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Tipsheet

Flashback: Remember When Biden Pushed Sunsetting Programs, Spending Freezes, and Entitlement Changes?

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The debt ceiling battle is mostly on the back burner for now, as the real deadline remains several months away.  The White House, meanwhile, seems intent on constantly rehashing the 'debate' over whether changes to entitlement programs are off the table -- which the president seemed to acknowledge as settled during the State of the Union Address.  Biden's team clearly believes there's political utility in lying about Republicans supposedly seeking to use the debt limit as a pressure point on entitlement reform, but as long as they keep bringing it up, the GOP should relentlessly throw Biden's own words back at him.  

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For instance, the fringe Republican proposal to 'sunset' entitlement programs, thus requiring re-authorization every few years, has been a favorite punching bag for Biden.  Sen. Rick Scott of Florida floated the idea, and Democrats quickly reacted by trying to attribute the proposal to all Republicans, even though very few have embraced it.  This also happened during the midterm elections when Scott provided ammo to Democratic ad-makers on a tax plan the rest of the party had rejected.  But Biden, you see, is utterly horrified by the notion that anyone in Washington, DC would suggest such a radical and dangerous idea to harm our seniors.  What sort of monster would ever do such a thing?

President Biden as a first-term senator in 1975 introduced a bill that would have limited budget authority for all federal programs to between four and six years, which experts say would have required new legislation to fund Medicare, Social Security and other federal programs.  The Biden measure bore striking similarities to the plan Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) unveiled in 2022 to sunset all federal legislation after five years — which is now at the center of a political firestorm...In a floor speech the day he introduced his bill, then-Sen. Biden called for broadly reviewing every federal program to weed out wasteful spending. “One thing that we must do is to begin reviewing existing programs to determine whether they are still effective and whether they are worth the money that we are putting in them. We must eliminate the wasteful ones,” he said...“This bill limits to four years the length of any spending authorization for a program. Furthermore, it requires that each committee make a detailed study of the program before renewing it for another four-year period,” he explained to colleagues.  Biden argued that many federal programs were operating on autopilot.  “One thing that we have all observed is that once a federal program gets started, it is very difficult to stop it, or even change its emphasis, regardless of its performance in the past,” he said.   

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Oh, well then.  Never mind all that, Biden's handlers insist:

It doesn't count when Biden did it.  The real problem is the Republicans.  Got it?  Some have tried to deflect from this by saying Biden didn't explicitly mention Social Security or Medicare in his speech, though experts acknowledge that they would have absolutely been impacted by Biden's plan.  But is there a sound byte floating around of Biden calling for reducing or freezing spending on those two programs, explicitly?  Of course there is.  It's Joe Biden.  Here he is 20 years after his failed 'sunset' proposal:

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He tried to freeze Social Security and Medicare spending four different times, he brags here.  Some Republican should re-introduce it, word for word, and name the bill after him.  It's been done before.  So we've got a plan from the 70's and a speech from the 90's.  How about something more recent?  Sure enough:


One of the only remaining semblances of Biden's previous political iterations as a fiscal hawk rears its head in his bogus bragging about deficit reduction -- even as he passes and proposes stunning, extremely inflationary, record spending.  I'll leave you with this useful 'fact check' note attached to one such claim:


"Readers added context they thought people might want to know: The deficit reduction Biden claims credit for is due to emergency Covid spending expiring as planned. 'Independent analysts say Biden’s own actions...have had the overall effect of adding to current and projected future deficits, not reducing those deficits.' ... Do you find this helpful?"  Why yes, I do find it helpful. Thank you for asking, Twitter.

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