Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in an interview Thursday put further distance between the Republican Party and the “Plan to Rescue America” proposed by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., as President Biden has continued to attack Republicans for allegedly wanting to sunset Medicare and Social Security.
Scott, who unsuccessfully challenged McConnell for Senate GOP leadership, introduced a 12-point agenda for Republicans last year that included a call to sunset “all federal legislation” in five years, saying, “if a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” Biden and other Democrats have seized on that sweeping proposal to accuse Republicans of planning to sunset Social Security and Medicare.
“Unfortunately, that was the Scott plan, that’s not a Republican plan,” McConnell told Kentucky radio host Terry Meiners on his eponymous podcast, emphasizing that the GOP never endorsed Scott’s proposals.
“The Republican plan — as I pointed out last fall — if we were to become the majority, there are no plans to raise taxes on half the American people or to sunset Medicare or Social Security,” McConnell continued. “So, it’s clearly the Rick Scott plan, it is not the Republican plan, and that’s the view of the Speaker of the House as well,”
When asked what the Republican plan is for Social Security and Medicare, McConnell said he and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agree those programs “are not to be touched,” adding that as the elected Republican leaders in Congress, “we’re in a more authoritative position to state what the position of the party is than any single senator.”
The Biden White House has repeatedly accused Republicans of wanting to put Social Security and Medicare “on the chopping block” – which GOP lawmakers have vigorously denied. The issue came up during the State of the Union address Tuesday night, when Biden cited Scott’s plan and again accused some Republicans of wanting to cut those programs, though he acknowledged it was not a “majority.”
The president’s comments were met with loud boos from the Republican side of the aisle in the House chamber, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and others called the president a “liar.” Biden doubled-down on Wednesday, reading directly from Scott’s plan at a speech in DeForest, Wisconsin.
Scott has emphatically defended his plan against the president’s accusations – pointing out that in 1975, when Biden was a senator from Delaware, he proposed to sunset all federal programs every four years, using language that is strikingly similar to Scott’s proposal.
The Florida senator issued a press release earlier this week that called attention to at least four times when Biden proposed freezing federal spending, including for Social Security and Medicare. In 1995, Biden said, “When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant Veterans benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government.”
“Last night, President Biden said, ‘Stand up and show [seniors] we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare.’ This morning, Rick Scott quadrupled down on his plan, which fellow Republicans and fact-checkers have verified would sunset both programs,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital in a statement on Wednesday.
Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.