President Biden attends a rally in Hallandale Beach, Fla., to support gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Senate hopeful Val Demings.
Biden called out the state’s Republican leaders in his speech.
hallandale beach, fla. — President Biden warned Tuesday that a Republican takeover of Congress would have dire consequences for Social Security and Medicare, taking direct aim at Florida’s Republican senators in a state where the popular safety-net programs have numerous beneficiaries.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-fla.), who is coordinating the Republican effort to retake the Senate, has been a favorite boogeyman of the president since he released a controversial policy plan in February saying that all federal laws.
including those establishing Social Security and Medicare, should expire after five years if Congress does not renew them.
Biden pushes back against Scott’s plan to cut Social Security and Medicare
Biden pulled out a brochure with Scott’s plan during his speech, a tactic the president has used at a number of events in recent weeks.
“The senator from Florida is going after Social Security and Medicare?” he asked with mock incredulity at a community center in Hallandale Beach.
It was part of Biden’s closing argument a week before crucial midterm elections, as he has relied less on bashing Republicans for ending abortion rights or attacking democracy, and revived a traditional Democratic attack that the GOP wants to gut the entitlement programs that are critical to older Americans’ well-being.
Polls have suggested that the abortion issue has limited potency as Republicans have made headway by focusing on inflation, crime and immigration.
Biden’s message Tuesday was essentially a response to the Republicans’ economic argument, saying the GOP would do far more damage to Americans’ financial health than Democrats.
Biden also brought up Sen. Ron Johnson (R-wis.), who is up for reelection and has proposed that Congress vote on whether to keep Social Security and Medicare every year, rather than every five years as Scott suggested.
“And then along came Sen.
Johnson from Wisconsin.
He says five years is too long to wait,” Biden said.
“Every year — every year — it should be on the chopping block.”
Biden Touts Healthcare Provisions in Inflation Reduction Act
Biden touted the health-care provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, a $700 billion health, climate and tax bill passed by Democrats on a party-line vote in August.
Although Democrats fought for a year and passed the legislation with the slimmest possible margin in the Senate, polls show most voters do not know what’s in the law.
A key provision would let Medicare negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, which had been a Democratic goal for decades.
Amid a crowd of mostly seniors, Biden lambasted pharmaceutical companies for raising prices faster than inflation — which they would be penalized for under the Inflation Reduction Act — and ticked through the savings he said seniors would see under the new law.
He also spoke about his son Beau’s glioblastoma and the enormous medical costs he incurred as a result of his cancer care even though he had health coverage. Beau died in 2015.
Biden emphasized that all Democrats voted for the Inflation Reduction Act and no Republicans did, including Florida’s other senator, Marco Rubio.
Biden said he found it “disappointing,” and the crowd booed.
Biden has also invoked a favorite line of his, telling those assembled, “This is not your father’s Republican Party.”
Biden: The Republican Party Poses a Threat to American Democracy
The president has spoken in stark terms about the threats the party poses to American democracy, while noting that not all Republican lawmakers fall into that bucket.
“This ain’t your father’s Republican Party, that’s a different deal right now,” Biden said.
“And there’s a lot of good Republicans out there, but they’re under a lot of pressure.”
Some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.), have distanced themselves from Scott’s plan, saying Social Security and Medicare would not be on the chopping block if Republicans take power.
The overriding issue, they contend, is that Biden and the Democrats have overseen a dramatic rise in the cost of day-to-day items, especially high gas prices.
Biden noted in his speech Tuesday that inflation was high worldwide because of the war in Ukraine.
While Democratic candidates experienced a surge of momentum over the summer and early fall, in large part driven by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v.
Wade, many analysts in both parties believe Republicans are likely to take control of the House of Representatives on Nov.
8, while the Senate remains up for grabs in many forecasts.
Florida has turned increasingly conservative and Democrats have had little success in statewide races there, suggesting an uphill battle for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Senate hopeful Val Demings.
After his speech, Biden participated in a fundraiser for Crist, who is trailing incumbent Gov.
Ron Desantis, and was also set to appear at a rally with Crist and Demings.
Biden has not campaigned in the most tightly contested battleground states — aside from Pennsylvania, which he has visited several times and is set to visit again Saturday with former president Barack Obama.
Biden has not appeared in Georgia, Nevada or Arizona, states whose Senate races are effectively tied and that are central to control of the chamber.
Instead, Biden has largely conducted a mix of official White House and campaign events in Democratic strongholds. He is set to visit New Mexico later this week and then travel to California to campaign with Rep.
Mike Levin (D- Calif.), whose race is deemed a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.
While Biden’s approval rating has ticked up in recent months, it is still a drag on many Democratic candidates. A Washington Post average of the polls shows Biden’s approval rating at 43 percent.
At the fundraiser for Crist, Biden added Desantis to the list of Florida Republican leaders he was criticizing, calling him “Donald Trump incarnate.”
Biden described the Florida governor’s race as “one of the most important races in the country” and suggested Desantis is not the sort of goodfaith Republican Biden likes to work with.
“Charlie is running against Donald Trump incarnate. This guy doesn’t fit any of the categories I talked about — the way he deals, the way he denies,” Biden said. Many Republicans expect Desantis to run for president, especially if Trump decides against it.
While Desantis was once a close Trump ally, the Florida governor is now seen as one of Trump’s top potential challengers for the leadership of the Republican Party.
He’s known for political stunts and views that are similar to Trump’s, delivering stringent conservative messages on abortion, immigration, LGBTQ issues and voting rights.
Biden said that, this year, there’s “lots on the ballot.”
“I always say democracy is on the ballot,” Biden said.
“It is really important that a state the size of Florida … comes down on the right side of history.”