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Biden blasts ‘fiscally demented’ Republicans in MLK Day speech

President Joe Biden lambasted the House Republicans’ tax agenda on Monday, targeting the new majority’s efforts to revoke new funding for the Internal Revenue Service, abolish the federal tax agency and replace income tax with a federal consumption tax.

Speaking at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in Washington, D.C., Biden called Republicans “fiscally insane” and vowed to veto their tax legislation, which will certainly fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“Raise taxes on working families, make inflation worse,” he said. “Let’s be clear, if any of these bills make it to my desk, I will veto it.”

The first bill, sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., would reverse more than $70 million in new IRS spending approved last year as part of Biden’s Cut Inflation Act, including money to hire 87,000 new officers, a frequent target of critical Republicans. This legislation was approved by the House in a vote of 221 to 210.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast in Washington, DC, Monday.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Biden said he was “disappointed” that Smith’s legislation would be the first bill the new GOP majority voted on, saying it would “help the wealthy and big corporations cheat on their taxes to the detriment of ordinary middle-class taxpayers”.

“All these new IRS agents that we have, it’s because they fired a lot of them, a lot of them are retiring and guess what? Who needs serious agents to know what they do or don’t do not? Billionaires, multi-multi-millionaires,” he said, noting that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the bill would add $114 billion to the deficit. “It’s their first bill. They campaigned against inflation, they did not say that if elected their plan was to make inflation worse.

The other tax bill in Biden’s sights was introduced last week by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., and would abolish the IRS, eliminate income taxes and institute a federal consumption tax. The bill is also likely to fail in the Senate.

“What in God’s name is this, other than the obvious?” Biden said. “They want working class people to still pay 10, 20% of their taxes depending on where they live and how they spend their money. And they’re going to cut taxes for the super rich.

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