FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden Say He And Kamala Harris Will Defund Social Security?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 1,800 times claims Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a recent speech that he and California Sen. Kamala Harris will defund Social Security.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Biden saying he and Harris will defund Social Security. While Biden did advocate for freezing Social Security for one year and reducing the cost of living adjustment by one percent at certain points during his tenure as a senator, his presidential campaign calls for increasing the solvency of the program and some benefits.

Fact Check:

Biden announced Harris as his pick for vice president on Aug. 11, according to The New York Times. They made their first joint appearance as running mates in Delaware the following day. A viral post from that same day as their joint appearance claims Biden said in a speech that the duo will defund Social Security.

“I hope every American citizen heard Joe Biden say in his speech, that he and Kamala Harris will defund Social Security,” reads the post. (RELATED: Will Joe Biden’s Tax Plan Raise The Income Tax Rates For Families Making $75,000 From 12% And 25%?) 

However, Check Your Fact didn’t find any record of Biden saying such a thing. Had he said that in a speech, media outlets would have covered it, yet none appear to have done so. A search of Biden’s speeches in August turned up no instances of him saying he and Harris plan to defund Social Security.

His Aug. 12 speech with Harris, for example, did not call for defunding Social Security, but rather accused President Donald Trump of attempting to do so via his executive order temporarily suspending the payroll tax for those making $100,000 and less a year, according to CNN. Nor did Biden mention wanting to defund Social Security on Aug. 6, during the 37th annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Biden also doesn’t appear to mention a plan to defund Social Security in July speeches, such as ones given July 9, July 14 and July 28.

Searching Biden’s campaign website turned up no results for plans to defund Social Security. In fact, the website states that his “plan for older Americans” will “put Social Security on a path to long-run solvency.”

“The impending exhaustion of the Social Security Trust fund imperils American retirement as we know it,” the plan reads, in part. “Waiting to act only jeopardizes the program further, and will make an eventual solution that much more difficult. The Biden Plan will put the program on a path to long-term solvency by asking Americans with especially high wages to pay the same taxes on those earnings that middle-class families pay.”

Biden’s plan proposes, among other things, a “higher monthly check” for those who have been receiving retirement benefits for at least 20 years and “raising the monthly payment by about 20%” for widows and widowers. (RELATED: Did Mike Pence Say He Won’t Debate Kamala Harris?)

During his time in the Senate, Biden did call for freezing Social Security spending in 1984, as part of a larger call of freezing all domestic and military spending, according to CNN. In 1996, Biden also suggested raising the retirement age by a year and reducing cost of living adjustment by one percent.

The Biden campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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