Sen. Bernie Sanders argues that former Vice President Joe Biden sided with a Republican effort to cut Social Security. “In 2018, Biden lauded Paul Ryan for proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” wrote the Sanders campaign in a Jan. 7 newsletter. The night before on CNN, Sanders had attacked Biden’s record on Social Security and Medicare.
The Sanders campaign pointed to a speech Biden gave to the Brookings Institution in April 2018. Biden’s overall message was that “folks in the middle class are in trouble” and that the tax code “is widely skewed toward taking care of those at the very top.” Biden argued that tax cuts were creating more debt, putting middle class programs at risk.
The Sanders campaign plucked out what Biden said about Ryan, but ignored the complete passage which showed that Biden wanted Social Security and Medicare protected, and to accomplish that goal would require making changes to the tax code. The thrust of his point about the tax code was that he was saying it does too much to help the uber rich.
The Biden campaign says he was mocking Paul Ryan when he brought it up. The full context and tone of Biden’s remarks can be seen below. PolitiFact has rated Sanders’ claim as “False” – which is one step above their “Pants On Fire” rating.