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Tipsheet

Joe Biden Probably Regrets Saying This About Social Security

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Joe Biden has picked up a fresh political weapon to wield against Republicans, as seen in his State of the Union address: social security and medicare. Biden trotted out questionable claims about what Republicans in the House and Senate wish to do to such programs, but Townhall fact-checked Biden's claim and found essentially unanimous agreement among Republicans that sunsetting Social Security is not on the table. 

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Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a track record that sounds an awful lot like the one he's trying to pin to Republicans.

As a significantly fresher face in Washington in 1995, then-Senator Joe Biden took to the floor of the upper chamber to push for a "freeze" on federal outlays, including social security and medicare, among other budget items as part of an attempt to sunset all federal programs. 

"When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well," Biden hollered at his Senate colleagues in 1995. "I meant Medicare and Medicaid, I meant veterans’ benefits, I meant every single solitary thing in the government," this entirely foreign fiscally conscious version of Biden continued. "And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time."

Four times, eh? That is *checks notes* four attempts more than congressional Republicans have made since Biden took office. 

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As it turns out, cuts to entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare were an ongoing crusade for Biden in his Senate days. Biden backed Reagan's tax cuts, then joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in pushing for a freeze on all federal spending, including on social security, despite Reagan's desire to shield Social Security from cuts, according to a 2020 campaign story in The Intercept. 

Well, Biden now finds himself in the White House and on the flip side of the battle he once furiously waged, so maybe he ought to pipe down about the allegedly untenable idea of cutting or freezing Social Security or Medicare since he repeatedly did exactly that while Republicans...have not. 

Biden's service in the Senate was not the only or most recent time Biden put cuts to Social Security and other entitlements on the bargaining table, either. During his unsuccessful run for president in the 2008 cycle, Biden again said he would "absolutely" consider looking at making changes to Social Security and Medicare, including cost of living increases, to address the federal deficit that was apparently in dire straits according to Biden then but nothing to worry about now that he's piling up charges against the country's future.

Yet again, after being rescued from full defeat by Barack Obama in 2008, then-Vice President Joe Biden would show his willingness to make "adjustments" — cuts, means testing, a minimum age increase — to Social Security in a proposed "grand bargain" with Republicans in Congress. The bargain ended up falling apart, but Biden is still on the record being receptive to the idea of reforming, cutting, adjusting — whatever you call it — a program that he now claims is sacrosanct. And now that position is one he is dubiously using as a political bludgeon against congressional Republicans — even though he more forcefully and concretely attempted to cut Social Security and Medicare in his own career than today's Republicans. 

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Hypocrisy, thy name is Biden. Again. 

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