Social Security and Medicare could be put up for potential spending cuts every year in order to rein in the national debt according to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

"If you qualify for the entitlement, you get it no matter what the cost is," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview that aired Tuesday. More than 70% of our federal budget is mandatory spending. It is on autopilot. You don't do enough oversight. It's not possible to fix the programs going bankrupt.

—Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) August 2, 2022

He said that we should turn everything into discretionary spending so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken.

The White House criticized his comments later in the day. Jean-Pierre said Johnson's idea would hurt families.

—Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) August 2, 2022

Johnson's representative elaborated on what he had said.

"The Senator's point was we need oversight to save these programs and Congress needs to address to ensure that seniors don't question whether the programs they depend on remain solvent," said Johnson's spokeswoman. Congress needs to take its responsibilities seriously to ensure that seniors don't have to wonder if the programs they depend on are solvent.

The safety net is made up of two programs. Social Security and Medicare provide benefits to people over the age of 65. Congress doesn't have to reauthorize Social Security and Medicare annually.

Increasing benefits for both programs with higher taxes on the rich is favored by Democrats. Over the years, Republicans have advocated for spending cuts to both programs, but President Donald Trump mostly split the GOP from that position.

The Senate will be up for election in the fall. This is not the first time this year that Johnson has been criticized by Democrats. If the Republicans regain control of Congress this fall, he thinks they should try to repeal the health care law again.

In March, Sen. Rick Scott put out an agenda that would have caused lawmakers to reexamine Social Security and Medicare every five years in order to jeopardize their future. McConnell said that the Senate Republican majority wouldn't want that to happen.

Democrats attacked Johnson for his comments. We make things discretionary around here. Chuck Schumer, the Senate's majority leader, said in a floor speech that all too often they get cut.