Elizabeth Warren knocked rival Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s record on Social Security this week, echoing Bernie Sanders on the issue as the two progressive senators look to move past a dispute that erupted during last week’s Democratic debate.
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“Bernie Sanders and I established the ‘Expand Social Security Caucus’ in the Senate,” Warren told Politico. “As a senator, Joe Biden had a very different position on Social Security, and I think everyone's records on Social Security are important in this election.”
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.
“When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well,” he told the Senate in 1995, according to The Intercept. “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.”
The clash between Sanders and Biden culminated on Saturday when Biden demanded an apology from Sanders’ campaign, accusing “Bernie’s people” of doctoring a video that suggested he agreed in 2018 with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. Politico reported there’s no evidence the video was altered, although Politifact said Sanders’ campaign was wrong and ignored important context.
"I think anyone who looks at the vice president's record understands that time after time after time, Joe has talked about the need to cut Social Security," Sanders said. "That's in the congressional record. He has said that many, many times. I don't think that's disputable."
Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Warren’s solidarity with Sanders on the issue of Social Security comes as the progressive duo looks to move past a feud -- which peaked at the debate last Tuesday, with both candidates calling the other a “liar” -- about whether Sanders said a woman could not beat President Trump in November. Although Warren has insisted that account is true, Sanders vehemently denies saying so.
In the days following the spat, a wide coalition of progressive groups, some backing Sanders and some backing Warren, joined together to call for a truce between the two senators and their allies.