President Joe Biden is ramping up his attacks on House Republicans, claiming their proposals will harm American families as both sides prepare for a battle over federal spending.
The White House’s new line of attack, conspicuously dubbed “Five Alarm Fire,” comes as the House GOP meets in Orlando to plan their agenda for the next year, including a budget proposal to counter Biden’s.
The administration plans to highlight a different area each day this week about how the GOP will harm American families.
Biden, who is expected to run for a second term next year, is pushing for more spending on social programs in his budget, which he will pay for by raising taxes on the wealthy and businesses. Republicans want to cut federal spending to rein in the $262 billion federal deficit.
President Joe Biden steps up his attacks on House Republicans
As MAGA House Republicans head to Florida for their retreat, the White House and Congressional Democrats are on the offensive, dismissing the Freedom Caucus’ MAGA budget proposal as a five-fire alarm for hard-working families. This is the only House Republican plan on the table, put forth by the same members with whom Speaker McCarthy made secret deals to become Speaker,” a White House official said.
Both sides are setting up the upcoming budget battle as a battle for their values. And each side is trying to gain a tactical advantage before working on the spending details.
The White House accuses Republicans of “endangering public safety, increasing costs for families, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and undermining American workers, weakening national security and hurting seniors.” .
Republicans say it’s time to cut the social safety net, scale back support for Ukraine to focus on America, and end spending on the “awakened.”
The White House is focused on a budget plan from the conservative Freedom Caucus that would limit total discretionary spending over 10 years to fiscal 2022 levels while allowing for 1 percent growth per year, which would cut $131 billion. compared to the current level.
Much of what the federal government spends each year is mandatory spending established by federal law. That includes funding for programs like Social Security. Another part consists of interest payments on the federal debt.
The remaining money is subject to political battles over spending priorities.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his GOP conference are on a Florida retreat working on their budget priorities
Biden’s team argues that the GOP’s conservative wing budget would discourage police because it could lead to a hiring freeze at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
They also say it will end Biden’s $400 billion student loan forgiveness program, reclaim unused Covid money and cut social programs for housing and food for the poor.
Caught in the crossfire of the budget battle is the battle over the debt ceiling.
The country is expected to hit its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling this summer and Republicans want to see budget cuts to reduce the deficit. Biden wants a clean debt ceiling increase, as has been done for previous presidents, including Donald Trump.
McCarthy, who hosted Biden on Capitol Hill for a St. Patrick’s Day lunch last week, said he confronted the president about the lack of debt ceiling negotiations at that event.
“I just saw the president again on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday,” the speaker told reporters in Florida over the weekend.
“I sat down with him and said, you said we’d see each other again. Every day that passes, you put the economy at risk,” he said.
Biden has said he wants to see a Republican budget before he starts negotiating government spending or spending cuts.
The political stalemate has raised concerns that the country is going bankrupt for the first time, which would be devastating for the economy.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy received President Biden at a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on Capitol Hill
But as the president ramps up his fire, Republicans stand their ground.
“It’s the debt ceiling negotiations that often force the biggest budget reforms, which have been very important to our country,” Republican Elise Stefanik, a member of the GOP leadership, told Punchbowl News Monday. ‘A clean debt ceiling is a non-starter.’
House Republicans are focusing on producing their own federal budget during their Florida retreat.
“People underestimated what House Republicans could accomplish, and we really set the agenda,” Stefanik said. “We drive this policy agenda more than the Senate and, you know, we play our part as the last backstop for the American people from one-party Democratic rule.”