Sen. Rick Scott: ‘We Have to Preserve the Benefits of Social Security and Medicare’

( – Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Thursday that he wants to responsibly raise the debt ceiling through cost reduction or responsibly raising revenue without raising taxes, because it’s putting “our fiscal house at risk.”

“What we said was either we’ve got to — this should be all hands on deck. It’s not a partisan issue. This is impacting every American family. Look at interest rates right now on mortgages, credit cards, and also just look at inflation. When you go to the grocery store, look at what it costs you to get eggs or meat and things like that,” he told “CNN This Morning.”

“Constantly increasing our debt is putting our fiscal house at risk. So what we’ve got to do is either we’ve got to reduce our costs, okay, grow our revenues responsibly, not raising taxes or what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to have some sort of structure reform so we know we’ll get there down the road. So that’s what we propose,” the senator said.

“There’s a variety of things. I think people ought to get back to work. If you don’t have young children, you’re able-bodied or dependent adults, get back to work. We gotta make sure we never default on our debt. We can prioritize our payments to make sure we never default as we come to an agreement on what we’re going to do. So I want to responsibly raise the debt ceiling,” he said.

When asked where the cuts would from, Scott said that Medicare and Social Security need to be preserved.


Here’s what we have to do. We have to preserve the benefits of Social Security and Medicare. We have to preserve those benefits, but what I did discover, and I worked on the budget deficit. You vote every line. You don’t just say there’s blanket costs. What you do is you take every line. You say where are things we don’t need – nice to have, but we don’t need? So we have to have real budgets. 

We have to go through every line just saying there is just one. We clearly know there’s ways, there’s fraud and abuse, there is, you know, we can do things more efficiently. There’s ways to deliver the services of our federal and state governments more efficiently. 

When asked whether “any mandatory spending for the social safety net” should be on the table, the senator said, “No. You don’t have to. People paid into the Social Security program. We have to preserve that. Medicare, preserve it. Is there ways we can address the delivery system in Medicare? Absolutely. We can make it more efficient. 

“I was in the hospital business. There are ways we can do that more efficiently, but benefits, no way,” Scott said.

“One thing you’ve been saying is talking about Medicare. You’ve been making this claim that Democrats have cut Medicare by $300 million or so, but that is not the case. That is not what happened with the Inflation Reduction Act. What is your point with saying that?” CNN host Kaitlan Collins asked.

SCOTT:  They cut $280 billion out of Medicare. They did it.

COLLINS:   I saw you said this, but they didn’t cut it. Basically, what essentially it was is part of the being able to negotiate the prescription drug prices. So changing what they are spending on is not equal to cuts, right? 

SCOTT: Okay. So if that’s true, then every time you figure out how to save money on medicare, that’s not a cut. But that’s not what the Democrats say. So $280 billion reduction in spending in Medicare—

COLLINS: Because it’s going to allow the government to spend less on these medications. 

SCOTT: But let’s remember what it’s going to do. It’s going to make sure that there are new life-saving drugs that are not created. Why would we do that? You can figure out — there is efficiency you can create, but you don’t just say I’m just going to cut $280 billion and we’re going to make sure that we don’t get some life saving drugs. It’s going to happen. It is already starting to happen. It could be anybody’s grandparent or parent. 

COLLINS: You can see that it’s misleading to say they cut $300 million when it’s a change in how they’re negotiating the drug prices, right? 

SCOTT: If you cut $280 billion out of what you spend, that’s called a cut, and what it’s going to do is it’s going to make sure the companies don’t have the money to invest in new life saving drugs. That’s a cut, and that is a potential, most likely a reduction in the benefit that a Medicare recipient is going to give them a life-saving drug that could save their life. 

COLLINS: CNN fact checked this. They said that framing it as a cut is nonsense, they believe.

Collins asked whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should get involved in the talks on the debt ceiling.

“I think everybody up here ought to be involved. Every senator ought to be involved. Every house member ought to be involved. This is impacting every district, every state. We all have to have — put our ideas out there. Let’s figure out and get the best ideas out there. This is not a partisan issue. We have $31.5 trillion in debt,” Scott said.

“If we don’t address it now at 35, at 40, 45, 50 and how are we going to get interest rates down if we don’t address the debt ceiling? How are we going to get inflation down? We’ve to figure this out. We’ve got to get our fiscal house in order. When I was governor, I balanced the budget every year and paid off a third of the state debt, and guess what,” the senator said.

“My revenues grew even though I cut taxes and fees 100 times. We can do the same thing here. We’ve got to get more jobs. We’ve got to- we’ve got to grow our economy. If we don’t, he’ll never have enough money to take care of the programs we care about. If we care about Medicare and Social Security, we have got to figure out how to responsibly live within our means,” he said.

When asked for Scott’s reaction to McConnell pulling him from the Commerce Committee after Scott challenged McConnell for Republican leadership in the Senate,” Scott said, “I’m going to keep doing my job. So I put out a plan. You know, he completely opposed me putting out a plan. I believe that everybody, everybody up here, this is not a Republican-Democrat issue. 

“We all ought to be putting out ideas and fight over ideas up here. He didn’t like. That I opposed him, because I believe we have to have — fight over ideas, and so he took Mike Lee and I off the committee. I’m going to still do my job. Ted Cruz is the ranking member. I have a relationship with him. I don’t think it made any sense,” the senator said.

“I am responsible for the third biggest state in the country. I probably run the biggest company in my prior career of anybody in the senate right now before. So I bring a lot to the table, but that’s a decision he made,” he said.

“And you’re one of the wealthiest lawmakers here as well. Some people say what did you expect? You did go up against him in that bruising battle,” Collins asked.

“Our job is to represent the people of the country. This is not about winners and losers. It’s not about partisan stuff. This is about who are the best people to solve the problems of this country? We have significant problems with our economy. We’re not growing full time jobs. Look at our debt. We have a lot of problems. So I’m going to keep fighting for them. I don’t know why he did it, but that’s life,” Scott said.


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