Rick Scott defends plan to sunset all federal programs

 February 9, 2023

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) defended his plan on Wednesday to sunset all federal programs, blasting President Joe Biden as "confused" in saying that some Republicans want to sunset Social Security and Medicare.

Scott backs the idea that programs providing benefits to Americans should not be perpetual, but should be reviewed carefully and voted on again after a period of time. The sunset would force Congress to conduct this review and to revote for programs it wants to continue.

“In my plan, I suggested the following: All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” Scott said in a statement.

“This is clearly and obviously an idea aimed at dealing with all the crazy new laws our Congress has been passing of late,” Scott added, making it clear that he didn't intend to get rid of or even cut the important programs for seniors.

"Dishonest move"

During the speech, Biden said, “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” and was promptly booed and laughed at by Republicans.

Biden broke from the speech to briefly argue with the boos, saying, “Anybody who doubts it, contact my office, I’ll give you a copy — I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”

“It is being proposed by individuals. I’m politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some of you,” Biden said.

Scott called the words “a lie” and “a dishonest move … from a very confused president.”

“I will not be intimidated by Joe Biden twisting my words,” he said, pointing to actual cuts to Medicare by Democrats when they allowed the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs in the Inflation Reduction Act.

"Off the table"

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said cuts to Social Security and Medicare will be "off the table" during debt ceiling negotiations that he hopes will yield cuts to the federal budget.

Even if Republicans would adopt Scott's sunset plan, which is doubtful, the plan anticipates that essential programs would be quickly renewed by Congress.

“Does he think I also intend to get rid of the U.S. Navy? Or the Border Patrol? Or air traffic control, maybe? This is the fake, gotcha BS that people hate about Washington. I’ve never advocated cutting Social Security or Medicare and never would,” Scott said.

But it may be hard for the American people, most of whom don't follow politics closely, to understand the difference between reviewing programs and potentially cutting or getting rid of them.

Additionally, a good number of people are losing trust in government and may not be certain lawmakers can work together to keep the programs going uninterrupted, if a sunset provision is adopted.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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