Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins got into a heated debate over President Joe Biden’s stance on Social Security Thursday that resulted in the senator chiding Collins over her talking points.
After tussling with the “CNN This Morning” anchor over what Cassidy characterized as Biden’s unwillingness to work with Republicans to save Social Security, the Republican senator scoffed at Collins’ defense of Biden and told her she’s “better than that.”
Their debate happened as Collins reported from Capitol Hill Thursday morning.
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The discussion became tense after Collins moved from the topic of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse to Social Security. Cassidy told the anchor that “the Social Security trust fund is going broke in nine years.” He then hammered Biden, adding, “The president knows that be keeps telling the American people it’s no problem. He has not told us what he wants to do.”
Slamming his fists together for emphasis, Cassidy declared, “It is going broke in nine years. At that point, there’ll be a 25% cut and when someone who is depending on Social Security – a 25% in what they’re getting, and the president doesn’t seem to care!”
Collins replied, saying, “The White House would push back on that, I should say.” The senator swiftly fired back: “How? What is their plan? He has not announced a plan!”
The anchor claimed White House budget director Shalanda Young told her during an interview that the administration has a plan for “protecting Social Security,” however, Cassidy was not convinced.
Cutting her off, he asked, “Now, how do they protect it? Because yesterday she was asked in committee, and she could not give an answer about their plan.”
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The journalist noted, “I don’t work for the White House” and reiterated she simply heard from the White House that there was a plan to make Social Security “solvent after the next decade.”
Continuing on, Cassidy mentioned again that the president has come up with nothing to save Social Security, saying, “They’ve not presented a plan.” Gritting his teeth, he added, “The president’s willing to let this go bankrupt because he doesn’t want to talk about it before his re-election. It is irresponsible, it is foolish, and it is wrong for the American people.”
Collins then asked if Cassidy would be willing to work with Biden on a plan, noting that the administration is saying that the GOP is making things hard and pushing back against Biden. He answered, “That’s not true. There’s been no pushback. I can tell you we have made ourselves clear, that we’ll be open to working with the White House.”
Tensions rose slightly when Collins mentioned how the White House will claim that Sen. Rick Scott’s, R-Fla., fight with Biden over the issue shows the GOP is unwilling to come to the table.
Cassidy scoffed at the idea, saying, “Well of course, because that’s what they have to retreat to.” Collins pointed out the Scott is Cassidy’s colleague, to which the senator resorted to mocking the argument. He added, “Oh yeah and there’s a Democrat who said something kinda stupid too. And so we’re going to take one person as a reason not to engage when the average beneficiary will see a 25% cut.”
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Collins persisted, saying, “But he’s not just an average Senator,” a line which made Cassidy visibly exasperated. He chided her, saying, “Oh c’mon, Kaitlin, you know better than that. It’s one senator saying that the president gloms onto because he doesn’t want to actually come up with a plan.”