Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday declared Senate Republicans have “no agenda” to consider cuts or reforms to Medicare or Social Security, attempting to slam the door on efforts by Democrats to link the entire GOP to a plan by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to sunset all federal legislation, including those popular entitlement programs, after five years.
Asked if Scott should disavow his plan, which has become a regular target of Democratic attacks, McConnell once again emphasized Scott’s plan doesn’t have any buy-in from the Senate Republican leadership.
“As you recall, there was some confusion last year about what the agenda of the Republican Senate might be if we were in the majority,” he said, referring to Scott’s 12-point plan, which he unveiled while he was serving as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The most controversial element of Scott’s proposal was a call to sunset all federal legislation after a period of five years to give Congress a chance to weed out wasteful and ineffective programs. It didn’t make an exception for Social Security and Medicare, but Scott has always insisted that he assumes Congress would renew those popular programs every five years.
“I made it quite clear that as the likely majority, as I hoped at that time, Social Security and Medicare were not on our agenda. Period,” he said.
Even so, Democrats continue to use Scott’s plan as political ammunition.
At last week’s State of the Union address, President Biden said, “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.”
McConnell on Tuesday tried to quash the notion that he or anyone in his leadership team might buy into the Scott plan or any proposals to cut Social Security or Medicare.
“It continues to come up. The president was talking about it in the State of the Union,” he said. “So let me say it one more time. There is no agenda on the part of Senate Republicans to revisit Medicare or Social Security. Period.”
McConnell pointed out that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “said the same thing” during a televised address last week before Biden’s State of the Union address.