Biden, Sanders trade barbs over Social Security as 2020 turns into two-man race

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders feuded about Social Security as the two Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for the next round of primaries on Tuesday.

After Biden won 10 states on March 3, Super Tuesday, securing a solid delegate lead and resurrecting his 2020 campaign, Sanders has revived his criticism of the former vice president for his remarks in 1995 advocating freezing federal spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

On Thursday, Biden shared a video of President Trump admitting during a Fox News town hall that “we’ll be cutting” entitlements.

“Social Security is on the ballot this year, and the choice couldn’t be clearer,” Biden wrote. “I’ll protect and expand it. Donald Trump will cut it and take it away.”

Sanders, a Vermont senator, pounced.

“Here's the deal,” he wrote. “Joe Biden has repeatedly advocated for cuts to Social Security. I've fought my whole career to protect and expand it.”

Biden fired back, criticizing Sanders for attacking a fellow Democrat instead of Trump. Both candidates are currently vying to headline their party’s ticket against the incumbent Trump in the November general election.


“Maybe you should spend your time attacking him,” Biden wrote.

Trump waded into the Democratic candidates’ feud, hitting “sleepy Joe Biden” and suggesting he’d destroy Social Security if he were elected.

“I will protect your Social Security and Medicare, just as I have for the past 3 years. Sleepy Joe Biden will destroy both in very short order, and he won’t even know he’s doing it!” Trump wrote.

Although Biden has called for expanding Social Security and paying for it by imposing taxes on the wealthy, that’s a marked shift from his time in the Senate, when he and other moderate Democrats flirted with the possibility of either cutting benefits or increasing the retirement age. Biden’s comments at the time are frequently used in attack ads launched by Sanders’ campaign.

“When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well,” Biden said on the Senate floor in 1995. “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.”

Biden has maintained that Sanders’ camp took the comments out of context.


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