The days of deficit peacockery might be coming to an end, with President Joe Biden the unlikely catalyst. The White House has released a scathing fact sheet calling out Republican hypocrisy titled “The Congressional Republican Agenda to Increase the Debt by Over $3 Trillion.” Says it all, really.
They come with receipts in this opening sentence. “Congressional Republican leaders insist that the national debt is among our nation’s greatest challenges, and reducing it is among their highest priorities,” linking to press reports and Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s own purported plan for the nation. “In fact, they claim that reducing the debt is so urgent it warrants endangering the entire U.S. economy through debt limit brinksmanship,” it continues. ”But their legislative agenda to date points in a very different direction—with proposals that would increase the debt by over $3 trillion.”
Biden laid all this out in a speech to the National Association of Counties conference Tuesday, telling them: “Some of my Republican friends in Congress—not all of them, but some of them—have been threatening to hold your economy hostage if we don’t cut Medicare and Social Security.”
“So, I met with the Speaker of the House, who’s a decent guy. He’s got a tough job,” Biden continued. “He made it real clear to me what he wants to do. He says he’s not going to raise any taxes at all on anybody. He just wants to cut programs.”
So, I suggested, instead of making threats about the debt ceiling, we would—which would be catastrophic—let’s just lay out our budgets. I’ll lay out mine on March the 9th—exactly what I want to spend, who gets taxed, who doesn’t get taxed, […] what programs get cut, what programs get added. And he should do the same. We can sit down and go—I mean this sincerely—go over it. See what they want to cut and see what we want to cut.
But here’s the thing: If you add up the proposals that my Republican friends in Congress have offered so far—just so far now—legislation—they would add another $3 trillion to our debt over the next 10 years.
It’s all true, and Biden proceeded to lay it all out in his speech, and the White House backed it up in that fact sheet: The $114 billion they would add to the debt in their bill to protect wealthy tax cheats (the first bill they passed this year); the $159 billion they’d add to the debt by repealing reforms that lower prescription drug costs from Medicare; trying to repeal corporate tax increases to the tune of $269 billion in debt increases; and their insistence that the Trump tax cuts continue, “a $2.7 trillion debt increase that would give the top 0.1% (with incomes over $4 million per year) a $175,000 annual tax cut, over 2.5 times a typical family’s annual income.”
“But here’s the bottom line: I’m simply not going to let the nation default on its debt for the first time in history,” Biden continued. “America is a nation that’s paid its bill for the last 200 years.”
This is a stark departure from the Vice President Joe Biden who helped Mitch McConnell negotiate a bad debt deal back in the Obama presidency. Back when they thought being bipartisan on the debt and deficit would actually make Republicans negotiate in good faith—premised on the notion that Republicans really did care about the debt and deficit, that they cared about anything other than tax cuts for the rich.
It sure is good to see that those delusions are gone. And along with them, the idea that Biden could actually negotiate them into a compromise solution. There’s no negotiating with people who are starting out with a baseline of nonsense.
This Joe Biden seems intent on exposing that.
President Biden's State of the Union was a masterclass in politics. The Republican Party, like a headless hydra, is unable to find a meaningful policy to get behind. Markos and Kerry talk about the highlights of last week and the enjoyment of watching Senate and House conservatives snipe at one another.