President Joe Biden has issued a budget plan. House Republicans have not. Yet Kevin McCarthy, he who took 15 votes to become speaker, thinks he’s going to pressure Biden to start negotiating on a debt limit increase despite his party’s failure to produce any solid proposal.
Biden is taking advantage of his advantage at a Tuesday visit to a North Carolina semiconductor manufacturer. The visit is to highlight the impact of the CHIPS Act, but Biden will more broadly make the point that investing in the U.S. economy—as he wants to do and Republicans do not—is a good thing. This is just one stop on what’s planned as a 20-state campaign with stops by Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden, and top administration officials to highlight the effects of legislation like the CHIPS Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and more.
“MAGA House Republicans made it crystal clear that their budget would cut the wealthy a break by raising costs on health care or child care for families,” Biden tweeted. “My budget will lower costs for families while reducing the deficit $3 trillion over 10 years.”
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Meanwhile, McCarthy sent Biden a letter trying to pressure the president to negotiate over a debt limit increase even though Republicans don’t have the first basic “what’s your budget” step to bring to the table.
“With each passing day, I am incredibly concerned that you are putting an already fragile economy in jeopardy by insisting upon your extreme position of refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending alongside an increase of the debt limit,” McCarthy bloviated. In reality, clean debt limit increases had long been standard until Republicans saw in them an economic hostage to take when there’s a Democratic president. In fact, the debt limit was raised three times under Donald Trump. Biden’s position is not the extreme one here, however many times McCarthy and his fellow Republicans recite their talking points.
McCarthy’s letter comes several days after reports that Senate Republicans were concerned about the lack of progress from House Republicans, which makes it look like McCarthy is trying to pretend that the current situation is intentional rather than another display of House Republican incompetence. Republicans kept saying they would have a list of demands for a debt limit increase. Biden made clear that he wanted to see an actual budget. Now, McCarthy is showing up with neither of those things and acting outraged that Biden isn’t negotiating with the nonexistent Republican proposal.
In a CNBC appearance, asked what the Republican budget plan is, McCarthy insisted, “Let’s be very honest about this, the budget doesn’t have anything to do with the debt ceiling. I can pass a budget tomorrow, and we’ll still need to pass a debt ceiling.” Now, McCarthy is not being honest, and there is no world in which he can pass a budget tomorrow—his party hasn't even been able to pass the border legislation they were supposedly going to pass immediately upon taking control of the House. But more importantly, while it’s true that if a budget were passed into law tomorrow, there would still need to be a separate vote on a debt limit increase, that doesn’t mean they aren’t related. Sometimes—and most consumers understand this—you make a financial decision and purchase something, and then you pay for it later.
Biden’s focus on a budget is not just a ploy. The debt limit increase that’s needed right now is the result of past budgets and legislation that Congress passed and presidents signed. It’s a matter of ensuring that the U.S. will be able to pay for the things it already committed to. Republican outrage is outrage that they’re not being allowed to renege on that.
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This is a big deal, folks. Biden exposes GOP deficit peacocks for the frauds they are