After being attacked by both Democrats and the GOP, Rick Scott edits his plan to sunset all federal laws every 5 years. He now wants to make exceptions for Social Security, Medicare, and the military.

Rick Scott
Florida Sen. Rick Scott speaks during a news conference following the GOP weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on September 20, 2022.AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
  • Sen. Rick Scott has been criticized over his plan to sunset all federal legislation every five years.

  • He edited the plan on Friday to say he "never intended" to include Social Security, Medicare, and the military.

  • This comes after both Democrats and the GOP bashed him over his proposal.

No, Senator Rick Scott doesn't want all federal laws to end every five years — just most of them.

Scott, a Republican from Florida, has drawn ire for his 12-point "Rescue America" plan, which included a provision to sunset Social Security and Medicare alongside all other federal laws after five years. Now, he's clarifying that while his plan would take aim at most federal laws, it would not touch those retirement programs, the military, and other "essential services."

Scott added a note to his plan, addressed to President Joe Biden, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, clarifying that the five-year rule was "never intended" to apply to Social Security, Medicare, and the Navy.

"I have never supported cutting Social Security or Medicare, ever. To say otherwise is a disingenuous Democrat lie from a very confused president," Scott wrote in a Washington Examiner op-ed. "And Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is also well aware of that. It's shallow gotcha politics, which is what Washington does."

Scott's plan has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans who have vowed to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Biden has been vocal in his opposition toward Scott's proposal, recently bringing a pamphlet of the 12-point plan to remarks in Tampa, Florida, to bash the plan.

"The very idea the senator from Florida wants to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every five years I find to be somewhat outrageous, so outrageous that you might not even believe it," Biden said.

"The President congratulates Senator Scott on joining the post-State of the Union red wave of Republicans acknowledging that they have, in fact, been attempting to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block," Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement to Insider. "For the past year he has explained the absence of an exception by saying, 'If it's worth keeping, we're going to keep it.' But make no mistake, his true colors are undeniable and on the record."

Bates said that cutting Medicare and Social Security is a "longstanding passion" of Scott's, and noted his prior support for privatizing Medicare.

"We thank Senator Scott for continuing to share his heart with the world. We always support him doing so," Bates said.

It's a rare bipartisan issue. Even Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has pushed back. "That's not a Republican plan. That was the Rick Scott plan," McConnell told Kentucky radio host Terry Meiners. "The Republican plan, as I pointed out last fall, if we were to come the majority, there were no plans to raise taxes on half the American people or to sunset Medicare or Social Security."

Even former president Donald Trump chimed in, telling Scott to "be careful," and that there "WILL BE NO CUTS."

The reason Social Security and Medicare are getting an especially bright spotlight right now, and likely why Scott made these revisions to his plan, is because some GOP lawmakers have been weighing cuts or changes to the two programs in a potential deal to raise the debt ceiling.

While Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy clarified last month that cuts to the programs are "off the table," Biden and Democrats have continued to resurface past comments from GOP lawmakers — some from over a decade ago — eyeing cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

For example, Sen. Mike Lee said in 2010 that "it will be my objective to phase out Social Security," and the Republican Study Committee's budget last year included raising the eligibility ages for the programs and privatizing Social Security.

Scott has continued to insist that he opposes cuts to the federal retirement programs. He's proposed rescinding funding for "Joe Biden's new 87,000 IRS agent army" — referring to money allocated for the IRS as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which, if repealed, would add a net $114 billion to the deficit — and putting those savings towards Medicare and Social Security. He also wants to make any potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security subject to a two-thirds vote from Congress.

"Everyone outside of Washington perfectly understood what my plan was trying to accomplish, but that hasn't stopped Washington politicians from doing what they do best — lying to you every chance they get," Scott wrote in the Washington Examiner op-ed.

Read the original article on Business Insider