WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden blasted House Republicans’ tax and spending plans in a speech Thursday, including potential changes to a popular retirement plan, as he prepares for a possible re-election bid.
The president’s speech in Springfield, Va., was his latest attempt to reshape the economic narrative away from the rapid price increases that plagued much of his first two years in office and toward his stewardship of an economy that has grown steadily and strongly. work income.
In a hall of steam fitters’ union, aides called it the president’s first major economic speech of the new year, Mr. Biden sought to take credit for the strength of the labor market, lower inflation and a report from the Commerce Department on Thursday morning that the economy grew at a 2.9% annual rate late last year. He sees House Republicans and their economic policy proposals as obstacles to continued improvement.
“As I was sworn in, the pandemic was raging and the economy was faltering,” Mr. Biden said. He then listed the actions he was taking to aid in the recovery. These include $1.9 trillion in pandemic and economic aid; bipartisan bills to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, water mains and other infrastructure; and a sweeping industrial policy bill to stimulate domestic investment in advanced manufacturing, including semiconductors. investment, and accelerate research and development to foster new industries.
gentlemen. Biden denounced Republican proposals to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax, cap safety-net spending and risk government default by refusing to raise federal borrowing limits without sharp spending cuts. Why, he asked, “would the Americans abandon the progress we’ve made because of the chaos they’re suggesting?”
This is the standing position at the beginning of the third year of the presidency.
“I will not allow anyone to use the full trust and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip,” Trump said. Biden said, reiterating his refusal to negotiate raising the debt ceiling. “The United States of America—we pay our debts.”
But the president is also trying to reach working-class voters — in places like his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. – Increasingly voted Republican in recent elections. gentlemen. Biden says those voters have been left behind by U.S. economic policies in recent years, and he’s trying to lure them back by promising his policies will continue to bring well-paying manufacturing jobs that don’t require a college degree to those who feel “neglected” “In the economy.
“They remember, in my old neighborhood, why jobs disappeared,” Mr. Biden said. He then vowed to “build an economy where no one is left behind — and I mean it: no one is left behind.”
The speech builds on the pattern of Mr. Biden sees the Republican Party’s new slim advantage as both a political threat and an opportunity.
Republicans in the Senate have launched a series of investigations into Mr. Biden, his family and his administration. They also demanded deep cuts in federal spending in exchange for higher borrowing limits, a stance that risks unleashing economic disaster given the vast amounts of money the U.S. has borrowed to service its fiscal obligations.
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The president declined to tie any spending cuts to raising the debt ceiling and called on Congress to raise the $31.4 trillion limit so the country can keep paying its bills and avoid a federal default.
But sir. Biden, facing a divided Congress for the first time in his presidency, has increasingly acted as if newly empowered conservatives have offered him political opportunities on economic policy. As he prepares for a possible re-election campaign in 2024, he is using the most unpopular proposals put forward by members of the House of Representatives to cast himself as a champion of the working class, retirees and economic progress.
House Republicans have yet to unveil a detailed or unified economic agenda, and they have made no explicit calls for raising the debt ceiling, though they largely agree with Trump’s proposals. Biden must accept significant spending constraints.
But members and factions of the Republican Conference have pushed for ballots on various proposals that have little support among voters, including raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare and replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax.
gentlemen. Biden is trying to inflame the entire Republican Party with the proposals, though it’s unclear whether the measures have a majority at the meeting or will go to a vote. Former President Donald J. Trump, who has announced his 2024 White House bid, urged Republicans not to touch the safety net program.
But key factions in the Republican Party continue to push for growth cuts to those programs in the name of reducing future debt buildup, while Mr Trump. Biden has been happy to use them as a genuine counterpoint to his economic agenda. He has explicitly refused to cut safety net programs and has threatened to veto such efforts.
“The president is building the economy from the bottom up, protecting Social Security and Medicare,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters this week. “The Republicans want to cut Social Security, they want to cut Medicare.” Insurance – something Americans already earn, already pay for – and a 30% state sales tax that would raise taxes on working families. That’s what they say they want to do, and that’s clearly their plan .”
Concerns about Republicans let Mr. Biden shifted economic talk away from inflation, which hit a 40-year high last year but has eased over the past few months but remains above historical norms.
Progressive groups saw an opportunity in Mr. Biden scores political points and defines economic issues before the official start of the 2024 campaign. That’s partly because polls show that Americans are less interested in cutting Social Security or Medicare — and much less concerned about the national debt — than House Republicans.
“It’s a political gift,” said Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative, a liberal nonprofit in Washington.
gentlemen. Biden’s speech on Thursday delved into policy details, including the acreage of western timber burning in fires linked to climate change, the global collapse of advanced chip production and average wages for new manufacturing jobs.