WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden took aim at the Republicans on several points in his State of the Union address, but drew the fiercest reaction when he said some in the party want to destroy Medicare and Social Security.

«Instead of making the rich pay their fair share, some Republicans want to eliminate Medicare and Social Security,» the president said, referring to a means by which government programs end without a vote in Congress.

At that, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, sitting behind Biden in the House chamber, markedly shook his head.

“Let me tell you: anyone in doubt, contact my office,” Biden continued. «I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.»

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in the US Capitol, Tuesday, February 7, 2023, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris and the President of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California look on.
President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol on Tuesday.Jacquelyn Martin / Pool via AP

Boos rained down.

McCarthy had warned his group before the speech that they must show decorum throughout the speech. But fellow Republicans did little to hide their resentment of him. Some Republican lawmakers loudly yelled, «No!»

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, sitting in the back of the chamber, yelled, «Liar!»

Biden appears to have referred to a proposal last year from Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Hidden in a policy manifesto that Scott, from Florida, published was the line: “All federal legislation expires in five years. If a law is worth upholding, Congress can pass it again.»

Democrats seized on the language as proof that the Republican Party wanted to take down the popular parts of the nation’s social safety net. Even some Republicans joined in criticizing Scott. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell later told reporters that Scott’s recommendation «will not be part of the agenda of the Republican majority in the Senate.»

Scott himself denied that he was targeting Medicare and Social Security, insisting that he instead wanted to draw attention to the financial difficulties of the programs.

Biden seemed unfazed by the uproar in the chamber, and Democrats took every opportunity to stand up and applaud him. «You tell them, Joe!» Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said.