Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was ridiculed for his response during the State of the Union Address in which he appeared aghast at the implication that he supported cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
"We're not going to be move into being threatened to default on the debt if we don't respond," Biden says, referring to GOP demands for cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Camera pans to Mike Lee looking OUTraged for SOME reason. pic.twitter.com/23YLkgDlKp
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) February 8, 2023
It quickly sent social media to mock the senator, citing Hamlets' "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
It led into Wednesday's cable news, showing videos of Mike Lee from a 2010 fundraiser in which he promised the audience "to phase out Social Security, to pull it up from the roots and get rid of it.”
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Lee crafted a statement claiming that his desire to kill Social Security is because Congress keeps taking money from the fund.
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"Congress has long used Social Security as a slush fund: Congress steals from it, raids it, and otherwise ruins it. Congress's long history of poor stewardship confirms the prescience of the Constitution," Lee said in the statement. "We should not trust the federal government with sweeping power over people's livelihoods. That's the point I made in 2010 while also acknowledging that we have to honor the commitments made to those who have paid into the system for decades and have relied on the associated benefits."
He also said that at no point has he tried to cut the programs while he was in the Senate. Those bills never came up for a vote, however.
Lee went on to say that no Republican has proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of the debt ceiling debate.
It isn't true either. In Oct. 2022, Bloomberg News reported that Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), who was up for the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee, was angling for the cuts.
“Our main focus has got to be on nondiscretionary — it’s got to be on entitlements,” Carter said.
Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), who ultimately ended up being the chair of the House Budget Committee, explained, according to Bloomberg, “Republicans have a list of eligibility reforms, and we don’t like the tax increases." The "eligibility reforms" he's talking about is an increase for the retirement age for both programs. He called it "commonsense."