President Biden exhorted Republicans over and again Tuesday night to work with him to “finish the job” of rebuilding the economy and uniting the nation as he delivered the annual State of the Union address to Congress.
But if the reaction to his hour-plus-long speech was any indication, Biden has a tough road ahead.
He was repeatedly met with outbursts from Republican attendees, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, seated behind Biden and next to Vice President Kamala Harris, frequently shook his head as Biden touted his policies and initiatives.
One moment in particular generated boos and hoots among GOP lawmakers: Biden’s comment that some in the GOP were intent on cutting Social Security and Medicare. That comment sparked a back and forth between the president and some attendees.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable back-and-forth exchanges during the State of the Union address.
Cuts to Medicare and Social Security
Biden’s suggestion that some Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security as part of budget talks led to fierce outbursts of rejection.
Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene jumped to her feet, pointed a finger, and shouted at Biden.
Other Republicans also jumped to their feet and loudly objected.
The proposal comes from Florida Senator Rick Scott, but it hasn’t been endorsed by the majority of the Republican Party.
In response, Biden said: “Anybody who doubts it, contact my office.”
And he told his audience, “So we all agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the table.” That drew a standing ovation from members of both parties.
President Biden: "Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I'm not saying it's the majority."— CSPAN (@cspan) February 8, 2023
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: "Liar!" pic.twitter.com/OFUglFuBxC
Oil still needed
Biden drew derisive laughter from Republicans when he said the United States will need oil “for at least another decade.″
The president made the comment as he promoted a landmark law to slow climate change. That law authorizes hundreds of billions of dollars to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power and help consumers buy electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances.
Republicans have criticized Biden for seeking greater oil production from OPEC and other countries even as he had sought to boost renewable energy. The president appeared to be trying to reassure critics that he recognizes the need for continued oil production, although the 10-year time frame seems far short of what experts expect — that oil will be needed for decades to come.
Republicans laugh at Biden when he suggests oil production could be phrased out after a decade. McCarthy then doesn't applaud when Biden proposes increasing taxes on stock buybacks. pic.twitter.com/9QVVmCu6nd— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 8, 2023
‘Not anymore,’ members of Congress chant
Members of Congress rose to their feet and briefly chanted “not anymore” as Biden cited Democratic-led efforts to cap the cost of insulin to $35 per month for older Americans who use Medicare.
The president had urged Congress to extend that price limit to millions of people on private insurance. That idea was scratched in Congress last year and is unlikely to gain traction now.
Roughly 8.4 million Americans use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association. About 1 million of those people, who have type 1 diabetes, can die without access to insulin.
Chinese spy balloon
Biden made a blink-and-you-might-miss-it reference to the suspected Chinese spy balloon that US fighter jets shot down over the weekend.
The comment came as he spoke about working with China in an effort to advance American interests.
But make no mistake, he said, “as we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”
Greene yelled “China is spying on us,” as Biden said the United States was willing to take action in the aftermath of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that had drifted through American airspace.