FLASHBACK: Biden in ‘95: ‘When I Argued That We Should Freeze Federal Spending, I Meant Social Security as Well – I Meant Medicare and Medicaid’

(CNSNews.com) – President Joe Biden has been accusing Republicans of trying to cut Social Security and Medicare, but it was Biden who proposed that very thing back in 1995 when he was a senator debating the Balanced Budget Amendment.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Jan. 31, 1995, then-Sen. Biden said that Congress should be honest with the American people about how much something will cost, and how Congress intends to balance the budget.

Whatever happened to the old conservative discipline about paying for what you spend? Paying for what you spend. I thought that meant that if we spend, then we ought to tell people how much it will cost to spend. If they do not want Members to spend, then we should not spend. But if they want to spend, we should be honest, must tell them what it will cost. 

Which brings me to the argument raised by some that before passing this amendment we should tell the American people how we intend to balance the budget. There are those who claim that this is just a sham on the part of the opponents of the balanced budget amendment. Well, I am not an opponent of that amendment, but I want to tell Members it does not seem to be unrealistic for someone to lay out in broad details at least how it will work. 

Those people say, ‘‘Wait a minute; if you are for the balanced budget amendment, you ought to say how to balance it.’’ Most people who are against the balanced budget amendment are not saying that we have to balance the budget; they are saying that our budget should be somewhere around 19 percent of GNP, that we should not put ourselves in the position where we are out of whack.

They argue, like many economists, that balancing the budget in and of itself is not a sacred undertaking and could be counterproductive. It seems to me that we should tell the American people.

He then said that he wanted to go on the record and wanted to remind everyone what he did at home which would cost him politically.

Biden said at the time that he argued for freezing federal spending and that he meant Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

I look at the polls out there. For example, I want to go on record, and I am up for reelection this year, and I will remind everybody what I did at home, which will cost me politically. 

When I argued that we should freeze Federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the Government. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.

Somebody has to tell me in here how we are going to do this hard work without dealing with any of those sacred cows, some deserving more protection than others. I am not quite sure how you get from here to there. I am sure that we should tell the American people straight up that such an amendment is going to require some big changes. 

The Balanced Budget Amendment will not end our deficit in one fell swoop, nor will it cause our Nation to turn its back overnight on those who depend on us.


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