WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Thursday called Republicans the party of “chaos and disaster” and sharply criticized them for refusing to approve a hike in the U.S. debt ceiling unless they reach an agreement on spending cuts. protocol.
In an impassioned speech at a steam assemblers union hall in Virginia, Biden launched attack after attack on Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives, saying some of their proposals are dangerous to the U.S. economy.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed not to approve a debt ceiling increase unless Biden and his fellow Democrats negotiate a deal with Republicans on cuts to future government spending.
“If we want to put America on a better fiscal path, we must finally address irresponsible government spending in Washington,” McCarthy wrote Thursday.
Biden called McCarthy’s stance “incredible.”
“I will not let anyone stake the full trust and credit of the United States of America. In the United States of America, we pay our debts,” Biden said.
Of Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump, Biden said: “They seem intent on being the party of chaos and disaster.”
The threat from Republicans is unusual — Congress has raised the U.S. debt ceiling for decades with the exception of a 2011 vote that included spending cuts for years to come.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on January 1. On the 19th, the United States has reached the current borrowing limit of 31.4 trillion US dollars, but can continue to pay bills until June by transferring funds between different accounts. Investors have warned that approaching the deadline could have dire implications for markets.
In his first major economic speech of the year, Biden also touted his record for the U.S. economy, including more manufacturing jobs, low unemployment and better-than-expected growth figures.
Biden responded to complaints from European leaders that his legislative package last year heavily subsidized U.S.-made products, which they said would hurt trade. He said he has been criticized abroad for focusing too much on the United States.
“To hell with it,” he said.
Biden reiterated his threat to veto Republican proposals that would limit his power to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, cut corporate taxes and impose a national sales tax if they reach his desk.
With Democrats controlling the Senate, his veto is unlikely to be needed, but Biden and the White House have lashed out at these and other fringe Republican proposals to highlight the divide between the two parties’ plans.
“They want to raise your gas prices. They want to cut taxes for billionaires,” Biden said. “They want a 30 percent national sales tax,” he added.
Biden, who is laying the groundwork for his 2024 re-election bid, told union members in Springfield, Va., that he would veto any such bill. “Not during my term, I would veto everything they sent us,” he said.
Biden also blasted pharmaceutical companies for taking advantage of federal research and investment incentives to make huge profits, and promised to pass legislation that would expand the insulin limit for Medicare users to $35 per person.
The economy under Biden has been plagued by inflation that is now fading amid fears of a looming recession. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Thursday that U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 2.9% in the fourth quarter of last year, beating expectations.
Since the new Congress was formed this month, the House of Representatives has passed a bill to cut the IRS budget, and some Republicans have proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, retirement and health care spending programs for seniors.
“They think it’s going to help curb inflation,” Biden said of the sales tax proposal. “What exactly is going on?”
As Biden began his speech, House Speaker McCarthy tweeted: “If President Biden is so eager to speak on the economy, then he should set a date to discuss raising the debt ceiling responsibly.”
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Act, which the White House said would raise natural gas prices, is another in a string of political-messaging measures passed by the House in its first week of operation, with the bill seen as having little chance of being introduced by the Senate.
The state sales tax proposal is contained in the Fair Tax Act 2023, introduced in January 2023. 9 Proposed by Georgia Republican Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter. It would replace U.S. income, payroll, estate and gift taxes with a 23 percent sales tax and stop funding the IRS after 2027.
McCarthy answered “no” this week when asked by reporters whether he supported the bill, which Georgia Republicans have pursued unsuccessfully since 1999.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Nandita Bose; Additional reporting by David Morgan, editing by Heather Timmons, Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis
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