Sen. Cassidy blasts Yellen over claim Biden ready to work with Congress on Social Security: ‘That’s a lie’

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) confronted U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday, going so far as to say Yellen was lying about President Joe Biden’s willingness to work with Congress on the impending collapse of Social Security.

(Video: YouTube)

Noting that Biden is against any cuts to Social Security, Cassidy asked Yellen, “Is the president aware that when Social goes broke in nine years, under current law, there’s a 24 percent cut in benefits for people who are currently receiving it?”

“If we don’t do anything about it, I think that’s about right,” Yellen replied.

“In the 4.5 trillion dollars of taxes the president has proposed,” Cassidy continued, “are any of those taxes going to shore up Social Security?”

Before Yellen could respond, Cassidy said, “I actually know that answer. The answer is, of the 4.5 trillion in taxes he has proposed, not a dime is going to shore up Social Security.”

“Does the president know personally anybody who is dependent upon Social Security and, if their benefits are cut by 24 percent, they will slide into poverty?” he asked, acknowledging that it would be hard for Yellen to know the answer to that question.

But answer, Yellen did.

“The president knows many people on Social Security,” she said.

“Then why doesn’t the president care?” the senator asked.

Yellen claimed, “He cares very deeply.”

“Then where is his plan?” Cassidy wanted to know.

“He stands ready to work with–”

And that’s all the senator needed to hear.

He cut the Treasury Sec. off and accused her of either lying or having been lied to.

“That’s a lie, because when a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly requested to meet with him about Social so that somebody who is a current beneficiary will not see her benefits cut by 24 percent, we have not heard anything on our request,” Cassidy stated, “and we’ve made multiple requests to meet with the president.”

“Now, you can’t comment on that, I realize that,” he continued, “but that is a fact, and if you’ve been told to say he stands ready to meet, I will tell you, there’s absolutely no evidence because we have not gotten our meeting.”

“Well, I believe the president does stand ready to work,” Yellen insisted.

“Again, empirically, that is not true,” Cassidy shot back.

The senator went on to recall Biden’s past proposal to increase taxes on those making over $400,000 to pay for Social Security and his suggestion to “tax them more to pay for Medicare and also to close the debt and deficit.”

Cassidy asked Yellen if she thought it was “realistic” to think Biden “can pay for Medicare, debt and deficit, and also address a 75 percent shortfall in Social” with a tax on “that two percent of Americans who earn over 400k.”

“Can you tell us what those rates would have to be to do everything he is saying?” he asked.

It has, since the early days of Biden’s presidency, been a point he has repeatedly made: People making under $400,000 per year would not see their taxes go up. The super-rich in Biden’s America would foot the bill for everything.

But somehow, Yellen wasn’t able to say the rates at which their “fair share” would be met.

“I can’t tell you that,” Yellen told Cassidy, “but I do know that he’s put on the table many proposals that would raise very substantial revenues.”

“If you cannot tell me,” Cassidy said, “I presume that they’ve not actually modeled what those rates would have to be, which tells me that he’s actually not been developing his plan.”

The senator called Biden’s failure to think things through “very worrisome.”

After more banter, Yellen once again stated that Biden “stands ready to work with Congress.”

“I don’t mean to be rude, but since I’ve had multiple requests on a bipartisan basis to meet with him and he’s turned everyone down, that rings hollow,” Cassidy stated, as his time ran out.

At that point, Finance Committee chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) scolded Cassidy for his tone.

“I would just caution colleagues, we’ve got plenty of differences around here, but accusing witnesses of lying is over the line,” he stated.

“I accept that, and I did not mean that for the Madam Secretary, who was merely saying that which she’s been told,” replied Cassidy. “I’m saying it– for an empiric observation, when the president says he’s ready to meet, then he’s turned down multiple times –”

“The time of the gentleman’s expired,” Wyden stated again, cutting Cassidy off. “Accusing witnesses of lying is over the line.”

Melissa Fine


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