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Biden slams ‘MAGA economic plan’ in speech targeting House GOP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden blasted House Republicans Thursday in his first major economic remarks of the year, arguing that GOP proposals would lead to higher inflation.

Speaking at a steam fitters union hall in Springfield, Va., Biden slammed the GOP, saying, “It’s not your dad’s Republican Party. It’s another breed of cat, as they say.

“They campaigned on inflation. They didn’t say if they were elected they planned to make things worse,” he said in his speech, a mix of prepared remarks and off-the-cuff comments.

“Look, that’s how they start this new mandate: cut taxes, on billionaires, raise taxes on middle-class families, and make inflation worse.”

The president also warned that the GOP wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“We have gone too far to let this happen. I won’t let that happen — not on my watch,” said Biden, who has threatened to veto any legislation that comes to his office that cuts those programs.

Biden called the House GOP’s economic proposals a “MAGA economic plan” – a reference to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Thursday’s remarks were not the first time Biden has attacked the GOP’s economic plans this year. During a speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Biden called House Republicans’ tax proposals “fiscally insane,” targeting their drive to revoke new IRS funding and a bill that would abolish the federal tax agency and would replace income tax with a federal tax. on consumption. Biden has pledged to veto their legislation, which is sure to fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The first bill the new House GOP majority voted on, sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., would cut more than $70 billion in new IRS spending approved last year as part of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including money to hire 87,000 new agents, has been a frequent target of Republican criticism. The legislation passed the House on a 221-210 party line vote. A second bill that drew criticism from Biden, seeking to abolish the IRS, eliminate income taxes and institute a federal consumption tax, was introduced this month by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga.

In addition to attacking Republicans on Thursday, Biden also touted the “good news about the US economy” that came out Thursday morning showing it grew at an annual rate of 2.9% in the fourth quarter of the year. last.

“Jobs are the highest in American history, and wages are rising, and they’re going faster than inflation. For the past six months, inflation has come down every month, and God willing, we we will continue to do so. Manufacturing jobs continue to grow stronger than at any time in the past 40 years. And I don’t think it’s unfair to say that all of this is proof that the economic plan for Biden… it works,” the president said.

Biden highlighted legislative achievements during his tenure, including the pandemic-related economic stimulus package passed in 2021, the infrastructure spending bill, a bill to boost computer chip production and last year’s climate, healthcare and tax package.

Biden also announced a new “Invest in America” cabinet made up of the secretaries of commerce, labor, transportation, treasury, energy, health and human services; the Administrator of the EPA; and senior White House advisers. Biden tasks them with implementing his economic plans.

Biden’s speech comes a week after the US government hit its statutory debt ceiling. The Treasury Department said it had begun resorting to “extraordinary measures” to pay the bills. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said these special financial tools to meet the country’s obligations can continue until at least June 5, creating a deadline for Congress to act to avoid a default.

Republicans are demanding spending cuts in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling and preventing a US debt default. GOP leaders, however, have not offered a unified party plan to cut spending.

Sahil Kapour and Allan Smith contributed.

nbcnews Gt

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