Marjorie Taylor Greene, other Republicans fight with Biden over Social Security, Medicare

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., rose from her seat at the back of the House chamber to heckle President Joe Biden after he said during his State of the Union address Tuesday that “some Republicans want the sunset of Medicare and Social Security” discussing the need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a US default.

“Liar!” she said. Other MPs in the House booed him. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, seated behind Biden, shook his head in disapproval.

The president leaned over the podium and began to go off script.

“Anyone who doubts this, contact my office,” Biden said. “I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”

State of the Union takeaway: Workman Joe, GOP boos and a sneak peek of 2024

Why cutting Social Security and Medicare is controversial

  • Social Security and Medicare are two of the federal government’s most expensive and popular programs and have long been hotly debated during discussions of the national debt and federal spending.

  • The government cannot pay its debt unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, and tension has grown between the two sides, with Republicans seeking to lower spending as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.

  • McCarthy said Republicans won’t cut the programs, but Democrats say the math will force those cuts if the GOP demands lower government spending.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga, screams into chambers during Biden's State of the Union address on Feb. 7, 2023.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga, screams into chambers during Biden’s State of the Union address on Feb. 7, 2023.

How Biden responded to State of the Union hecklers

As the boos continued, Biden turned to the House gallery to address an audience member not seen on camera.

“It’s being brought up by individuals,” he said. “I politely won’t name them, but it’s been suggested by some of you.”

More whistles came from the room.

“Look, folks, the idea is that we won’t be pushed into being threatened with debt default if we don’t respond.”

Disturbances, gaiters and deviations: The biggest moments you missed from Biden’s State of the Union

As the camera landed on individual lawmakers, it captured a shot of a stunned Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, looking around the room with his mouth hanging open.

“So folks, as we apparently all agree, Social Security and health care are off the books now,” Biden said. “Shouldn’t they be touched? All right. We have unanimity!”

Applause broke out in the room.

“Tonight, we’re all in it, and apparently we are — we stand up for the elderly,” Biden said, throwing his fists in the air. Speaker McCarthy stood up.

“If anyone tries to cut Medicare, I’m going to stop them,” he said. “I’ll veto it. I won’t let them be taken away, today, tomorrow, or ever. But apparently that won’t be a problem.”

Moreover: How Medicare and Social Security Benefits Help Fight the Debt Ceiling by Kevin McCarthy

Refusal to negotiate: Amid the debt ceiling deadlock, why Joe Biden will not negotiate with the Republicans

This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: Greene, Republicans spat with Biden over Social Security, Medicare

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