Biden: Republicans may cut social programs
U.S. President Joe Biden warned Florida voters that Republicans could cancel Social Security and Medicare programs.
“You’ve been paying into Social Security your whole life, you’ve earned it, and now these guys want to take it away,” Biden said in his speech, calling these programs “under siege” by Republicans. “What the hell do they think of themselves?” – the president resented.
The president delivered the speech at the South Florida Community Center just seven days before the Nov. 8 U.S. midterm elections, which will test whether Biden’s fellow party members can maintain their slim majority in Congress.
This presidential speech marked Biden’s first attempt to challenge Florida’s governor and his potential 2024 rival, Ron Desantis, on his home turf in a state the president lost in 2020 to former Republican President Donald Trump.
Biden, whose approval rating is below 40 percent, has already said he intends to run in 2024, but has not officially announced plans to do so. Desantis, the Republican governor – who is now seeking re-election in a fight against Democratic candidate Charlie Crist – is widely believed to be considering running for president in 2024 alongside Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Biden attended campaign events for Crist and Democratic congresswoman Val Demings, who is running for the Senate seat now held by Republican Marco Rubio.
The Democratic Party is concerned that Florida, which has been an arena of intense political struggle for decades, is starting to lean clearly toward the Republicans. They hope they can reverse this trend by focusing on the problems of the functioning of popular welfare programs — Social Security and the Medicare public health insurance program.
Florida has the highest percentage of seniors compared to other states in the country.
Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida has proposed requiring Congress to periodically pass legislation to update Social Security and Medicare, or to repeal some Social Security benefits.
Meanwhile, Biden and Desantis clashed on several issues, including mandatory vaccination against COVID-19, abortion and LGBTQ rights.
Biden met with Desantis last month during a trip to the state, where he came to assess the devastation from Hurricane Ian. The politicians greeted each other warmly and demonstrated that they were standing shoulder to shoulder as they dealt with the aftermath of the disaster.
Recent polls have shown that Democrats, who once had a solid lead in some Senate races, are now teetering on a razor’s edge. The prospect of a Senate election now looks better for Republicans as inflation remains high.
Losing control of one or both houses of Congress would greatly affect the next two years of a Biden presidency, as Republicans are expected to block bills on family leave, abortion, policing and other Biden administration priorities.
The last time a Democrat won a presidential or Senate election in Florida was in 2012, when Republicans held the advantage among registered voters in the state: 5.2 million versus 4.9 million. But the state now also has 3.9 million independent voters, who represent an increasingly important part of Florida’s electorate.