For Biden, House Republicans continue to shift the goal post on the so-called “spending cuts” they demand as Biden and the White House continue to make their targets too politically toxic to touch.
In February, the president withdrew cuts to Social Security and Medicare when he cornered Republicans on live TV during his State of the Union address.
The next GOP target to drop was veterans benefits. Democrats and the White House began hammering House Republicans on the deeply unpopular cuts immediately after passing the debt ceiling package that would slash non-defense funding by about 22% in fiscal year 2024.
“It’s cruel and it hurts our heroes,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said at a press conference with veterans groups after the vote.
Biden tweeted from the @POTUS account with illuminating graphics and the simple question: did you vote for a bill that cuts domestic spending by 22%? For those who answered “Yes”, a series of red arrows led to the statement: “You voted to CUT veterans’ benefits”. For those who voted ‘No’, red arrows led to the statement: ‘You voted to PROTECT veterans’ benefits’.
Even House Republicans could read this graph: 217 of them had voted for cut veterans’ benefits as the 211 Democrats voted to protect them. (Retirement!)
A few days after McCarthy’s supposed “victory”, House Republicans issued a press release promising that “absolutely NO CUTto VA or veterans benefits were in the bill.
In light of the GOP’s retirement, The New York Times’ Upshot set to work determining about how much Republicans should cut other national programs in order to achieve their fiscal goals if Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Health Care, and Homeland Security were exempt. Forget 22% – the budget for all other national programs should be cut by around 51%.
On Wednesday, Biden suffered the potentially catastrophic fallout from a Republican failure to raise the debt ceiling on the road to New York’s Hudson Valley, currently represented by freshman GOP Rep. Mike Lawler, the one of the most vulnerable members of the House GOP next year.
Biden appeared to court Lawler’s defection from the House caucus party line, saying he was “the kind of Republican I used to deal with…not one of those MAGA Republicans.” Biden’s light touch with Lawler contradicted a statement released by Democrat Liz Gereghty, who announced an offer Tuesday to oust the GOP congressman. Gereghty says Lawler empowered “extreme” Republicans in Congress who “threatened our basic rights, our security, and our economic future.”
Still, Biden called the GOP’s failure to raise the cap a “manufactured crisis.”
“There’s no doubt about America’s ability to pay its bills,” Biden told the crowd at SUNY Westchester Community College in Valhalla. “America has the strongest economy in the world, and we should cut spending and reduce the deficit without unnecessary crisis.”
Biden laid out the potential consequences of defaulting: higher interest rates for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages; delayed payments for Social Security, Medicare, US troops and veterans; 8 million American jobs lost, according to Moody’s Analyticsand a recession.
Republicans and Donald Trump, Biden said, are largely responsible for the country’s current debts.
“The last administration alone — the last man to hold that position for four years — increased the total national debt by 40% in just four years,” Biden said. “Over the past decade, the biggest contribution to debt, aside from the pandemic, has been Trump’s tax cuts.”
Biden noted that following Tuesday’s meeting at the White House with congressional leaders, McConnell told reporters that the United States would not default on its debts. “It never was and it never will be.”
Biden, who is likely trying to preserve an outside chance to broker a last-minute deal with McConnell, said he was “satisfied but not surprised” by McConnell’s comments.
By contrast, Biden said President Kevin McCarthy is under the thumb of MAGA Republicans.
“They took over,” Biden said. “They have a president who has his job because he gave in to, quote, the ‘MAGA’ element of the party.”
Little of what Biden said was actually new, but Biden’s locale — a moderate New York neighborhood he double digit win in 2020 – was clearly an effort to eliminate one of the many New York Republicans who will be fighting tooth and nail for their seats next year. The defection of even two or three could send McCarthy’s plan into a death spiral.
The data is there: Americans don’t like Republican policies on abortion. Kerry is joined by Drew Linzer, director and co-founder of renowned polling firm Civiqs. Drew and Kerry dive deep into the polls on abortion and reproductive rights and the big issues facing conservative candidates in the upcoming election.