As Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., unveiled his conference's proposal to raise the country's debt limit, President Joe Biden spoke to union workers in Maryland to paint a stark contrast between his economic proposals and those put forth by House Republicans.
"You and the American people should know about the competing economic visions of the country that are really at stake right now," Biden said Wednesday as he began his remarks at a union training facility in Accokeek, Maryland, roughly a half-hour’s drive from the White House.
Speaking at a union training facility in Accokeek, Maryland, roughly a half-hour’s drive from the White House, Biden condemned the proposals of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and his House Republican conference while outlining his budget plan, which aims to cut the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade, funded in part by taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
"I'm here in this union hall as Speaker McCarthy just got finished speaking to Wall Street two days ago and speaking to the United States Congress ... in what we describe as the MAGA economic vision," Biden said, noting that the California Republican's speech in New York came just before Tax Day in the United States.
"Do you think he told the wealthy and powerful it's about time to step up and start paying a fair share?" Biden asked the crowd. "Not a word. Do you think he told a billion dollar companies to stop stop stashing profits and tax havens off the coast and shipping jobs overseas? I didn't hear, any of that you?"
"Instead, he proposed huge cuts in imports and very important programs that millions of hardworking and middle-class Americans count on," Biden continued. "All the while, he and the MAGA officials are separately pushing for more tax giveaways and overwhelming benefits to the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. Folks, this time, the same trickle-down [economics] dressed up in MAGA clothing is worse than ever."
House Republicans' proposal, dubbed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which McCarthy unveiled Tuesday, would suspend the debt ceiling through March 2024 in exchange for slashing federal spending to fiscal year 2022 levels, repealing key parts of President Joe Biden's health care, tax and climate change law, Inflation Reduction Act, expanding domestic energy production, repealing funding for IRS agents and blocking the president's student debt forgiveness plan.
McCarthy said that the bill would save Americans $4.5 trillion, though the bill's components have not yet been reviewed by nonpartisan agencies. He pledged to put the bill on the floor of the chamber next week.
"The American people have elected a divided government," McCarthy said Wednesday. " That's why the House, the Senate, and the White House should be negotiating a responsible debt limit increase right now."
"You know, if you gave your child a credit card, and they kept maxing it out to the limit, you wouldn't blindly just raise the limit," the California Republican continued, evoking one of his oft-used metaphors amid the debt limit debate. "You change their behavior. That exact same thing is true with our national debt. We need to lower inflation, reduce our dependence on China and lift Americans out of poverty. America has a $31 trillion debt, and Washington is on the clock."
The proposal would no doubt be dead-on-arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. House Republicans are hoping that their proposal can push Biden back to the negotiating table, though it's unclear whether McCarthy's full conference is on board with the proposal.
"Folks, this is really dangerous," Biden warned Wednesday. "MAGA Republicans in Congress are threatening to default on the national debt, the debt that took 230 years to accumulate overall ... unless we do what they say, they're going to default unless I agree to all these wacko notions."
"To default would be worse than totally irresponsible," he continued. "To default would mean cuts in Social Security and Medicare, higher interest rates for things like credit cards, car loans, mortgages. Working people, middle-class, seniors would pay a price, the entire economy would be at risk. America has never defaulted on our debt which has accumulated over 200 years."
The president went on to charge that his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, ran up the national debt during his single term in office, and the Republican-controlled Congress voted to raise the debt limit repeatedly during that time, with bipartisan support from Democrats.
It would not be the only time Wednesday that Biden invoked his predecessor.
"Donald Trump, seeking to increase the debt limit while he was doing what he was doing, he said quote, 'I can't imagine ever even thinking about using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,'" Biden said. "I guess he didn't know that new MAGA Republicans he bred."
The president also mentioned Trump while talking about Republicans wanting to revive his administration's tax cuts passed in 2017 in a line that drew applause, laughter and cheers from the crowd.
In talking about wanting to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans to fund his budget proposal, which he says would reduce the deficit $3 trillion over the next decade, Biden said: "I want to make sure that the two trillion dollar Trump tax cut that he passed in his last term ... his only term."
When met with laughter and applause, Biden added: "I didn't mean it that way."
"America's not a deadbeat nation," Biden pledged. "We meet our obligations, and I made clear to Speaker McCarthy about how we should proceed to settle our differences. No one should do anything to jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States of America."
"Instead of making threats of default if I don't go along with what they want, which would be catastrophic for the country, if we don't do it, they say they're gonna let the fall take place, take the fall off the table and let's have a let's have a real serious detailed conversation about how to grow the economy, lower cost and reduce the deficit," Biden said as he concluded his remarks.