Sarah Huckabee Sanders, governor of Arkansas, speaks while delivering the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address in Little Rock, Arkansas, US (Image: Reuters)
While Biden aimed to bait the Republican Party over spending cuts and debt ceiling raising issues on national TV, Republicans chose to attack the president on culture wars.
During his state of the union speech, US President Joe Biden remained critical of some Republican moves related to the US debt ceiling, gun laws, abortion, immigration and China.
While Republicans heckled and jeered Biden, experts speaking to US-based news agencies said that Republicans actually took the bait and committed to Medicare and Social Security.
Joe Biden said that a section of Republicans want to phase out social security and Medicare for All in his speech. Following the slim midterm poll victory and retaking of the US House of Representatives, some Republicans mulled cutting benefits for some retirees and raising the retirement age for both social security and Medicare.
These were part of spending cuts that the Republicans wanted the Biden administration to agree to as part of future budget negotiations and also the recent debate about raising the debt ceiling.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “We are under attack in a left wing culture war we didn’t start, and never wanted to fight. Every day we are told we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols…That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/p571fv9cJ1
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 8, 2023
“Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years,” Biden said, inviting jeers and heckles from the Republican lawmakers.
“Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history. I won’t let that happen,” he said.
Biden said any move to raise the cost of prescription drugs and passing a national abortion ban will be vetoed.
“Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it,” Biden said. “Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” the President said, using the ‘make no mistake’ phrase once more to warn Republicans who control the US House.
Republican Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene booed Biden and called him a ‘liar’ but many say that the Republican reactions signal that they will not touch these issues during the debt ceiling raising discussions.
Biden did not pay much attention to China (or the recent spy balloon entering US airspace) and Republicans latched on to it.
In their response to the SOTU speech, Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Biden has made the country look weaker. She said the US President was unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief and his weakness has put America and the world at risk.
“At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country, and at 80, he’s the oldest president in American history,” Sanders said in the Republican response to the SOTU.
Sanders also waded into the cultural war that has gripped the US and said Democrats fail to define ‘what is a woman?’
“While you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day,” Sanders said.
“The dividing line in America is no longer right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy,” Sanders further added. She said that she has banned the use of gender-neutral term Latinx.
The Republicans also accused Biden and the Democrats for the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries when Biden said he is prioritising ‘Make in America, Buy in America’.
“Biden and the Democrats have failed you … and it’s time for a change,” Sanders said.
“Republicans offer a vision for a future built on freedom, not fear-mongering,” US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said (who also seemed more congenial than his colleagues and on two occasions urged Republicans to tone down the heckling).
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