President Joe Biden told a Virginia crowd on Tuesday that Republicans may have ‘found religion’ on protecting Social Security and Medicare – but accused them of planning cuts on health care for the poor and on Obamacare.
Biden also tipped his hand on the proposed White House budget that’s expected to be rolled out on March 9th, saying people earning less than $400,000 per year won’t pay ‘a penny’ on tax hikes he’s proposing.
He said the budget plan would spell out ‘What we’re going to cut, what we’re going to spend, what we’re going to do. Just lay it on the table.’
After pounding Republicans for weeks over a plan by Florida Sen. Rick Scott to ‘sunset’ federal programs and require renewal votes in Congress, Biden is shifting the terrain to Medicaid. He said Republicans would be pulling out old plans to cut funding in order to meet their budget-cutting demands.
President Joe Biden continues to take his budget attacks on Republicans on the road, this time hitting them for planning cuts to Medicaid and Affordable Care Act programs
He pointed to his State of the Union address, where he had both parties on their feet in defense of the popular programs.
‘Like I said, I believe in conversion. Maybe they found religion for Social Security and Medicare,’ Biden said at the Kempsville Recreation Center in Virginia Beach.
The president also revisited his clash with Republicans during his State of the Union last month – making hay out of Georgia firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her heckling.
‘I’ve been around for a lot of State of the Unions,’ he said, earning approval from a crowd of about 600. ‘I never saw one where the president got to negotiate in the open with everybody,’ Biden said.
‘Remember when Marjorie Taylor was yelling ‘Liar! Liar!’ he recalled.
He reveled in the bipartisan ovation he got when he called for protecting Social Security and Medicare. ‘Wasn’t it something? They all stood up. They were all on camera,’ he said.
After his line about the GOP having ‘found religion, Biden said: ‘I sure hope so, all kidding aside. But I’ll believe it when I see it.’
If Social Security has been a ‘third rail’ in American politics, Medicaid, which provides health benefits to the poor, has come under regular scrutiny by Republicans for potential cuts.
Biden also spoke about the debt limit clash coming this summer, and asked why Republicans would vote to raise the debt limit under Donald Trump but not in his administration.
‘If they paid the American debt then, why in God’s name are they threatening not to pay it now?’ he said, pointing to the increase of the nation’s debt of about a quarter during the four-year-period.
‘It’s just politics. And they’ve got no business playing politics with the lives of American people and our nation’s economy.
Biden left DC for the short flight aboard Air Force One to Virginia Beach so that he could take on ‘MAGA’ House Republicans, whom he sometimes referred to as ‘my MAGA Republican friends.’
‘They say they want to reduce the deficit. Their plans would explode the deficit, increasing it $3 trillion over the next 10 years,’ Biden said.
‘If they say they want to cut the deficit but their plans actually explode the deficit, how are they going to make the numbers add up? What will they cut?’he was
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) gave a thumbs down and yelled ‘Liar!’ at President Joe Biden while he was delivering the State of the Union address.
Biden snapped selfies with supporters for longer than he spoke
Biden said people earning less than $400,000 a year won’t pay ‘a penny’ in new taxes
Like White House officials who previewed his attacks on Monday night, Biden pointed to plans put forward by House Republicans, as well as a plan promoted by former Trump budget director Russel Vought.
‘That’s the plan. He wants to end Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act,’ Biden said, claiming ‘deep cuts’ would cause 70 million to lose ‘critical services.’
Biden said if Republicans try to find savings by ‘gutting’ Medicaid and the ACA, ‘I will stop them.’
Biden was introduced by Robin Kessler, who spoke about losing her health benefits when she lost her job before the Affordable Care Act was law.
Her career as a nurse got him talking about his own struggles, when he was hospitalized for a brain aneurism two times.
He spoke of the difficulties of being in a hospital under a nurse’s care.
‘You lie there in the ICU, which I’ve done for a long time, and you look at those machines. And you know the line goes flat that it’s over. But you just get tired, you don’t care,’ Biden said.
He spoke of how a nurse provided care when he was suffering.
‘I had a nurse named Pearl Nelson. She’d come in and do things I don’t think you learn in nursing school,’ he said to laughs. ‘She’d whisper in my ear, I couldn’t understand, but she’d whisper and she’d lean down. And actually breathe on me to make sure there was a connection, a human connection.’
The White House teed up Biden’s attacks in advance.
With Biden’s budget plan set to come out next month, and Republicans yet to release one, the White House is aiming at proposals by individual lawmakers, the House Budget panel, and an influential conservative faction.
‘They have committed themselves to many trillions in program cuts,’ said Aviva Aron-Dine of the National Economic Council. ‘The bottom line is this: Congressional Republicans have committed themselves to very deep cuts to programs that tens of millions of Americans count on,’ she added.
Biden’s trip targeting Republicans comes on a day when his $400 billion student loan forgiveness campaign is the subject of a high-stakes hearing at the Supreme Court.
On a trip to Virginia Beach Tuesday afternoon, Biden will ‘highlight the devastating impacts that MAGA Republican proposals will have for families healthcare and budgets around the country,’ White House Principal Deputy Director of Communications Kate Berner told reporters.
Biden has committed to putting out his budget on March 9, setting up a season of tense negotiations with Republicans, as the extraordinary measures to keep the country from surpassing the statutory debt limit run out.
Over a decade, the Biden budget aims to slash $2 trillion from the debt, which stands at $31 trillion.
With no current GOP budget to use as a foil, the White House is pointing to cuts proposed by House Budget Committee Republicans and a budget proposed by the conservative Republican Study Committee, which includes a majority of the House GOP Conference.
‘This year, individual members of Congress and the House Budget Committee has continued to point to the ACA (Affordable Care Act) or Medicaid as targets for cuts,’ she said, also pointing to a budget proposed by former Trump budget director Russel Vought, who is reportedly advising the GOP.
Biden has held a one-on-one meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who has adopted a strategy of demanding spending cuts in exchange for any debt limit increase.
After a clash during Biden’s State of the Union, McCarthy has said Social Security and Medicare should be ‘completely off the table’ during debt ceiling negotiations.
That leaves domestic programs if the GOP goes in search of cuts.
The White House was coy when first asked why Biden was executing the effort in Virginia Beach, but then allowed that the state had seen a 7 percent drop in its uninsured rate since the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
Republicans are demanding cuts, with projections that the nation’s debt would remain more than 100 percent of GDP far into the future.
The White House says the GOP’s plans would actually increase debt in the short term.
‘They’ve also laid out an agenda that starts by increasing the debt by over $3 trillion with tax cuts due to the wealthy and big corporations, and by repealing the prescription drug reforms enacted last year as part of the inflation Reduction Act,’ Aron-Dine said, arguing that healthcare would ‘clearly be on the chopping block.’
Biden is in a position to veto Republican plans to try to repeal his Inflation Reduction Act or its funding for thousands of IRS employees, and Democrats who control the Senate can snuff out many of the House GOP’s budget plans.
Biden repeatedly went after ‘MAGA Republicans’ in the run-up to the November elections
The White House pointed to cuts proposed by House Budget Committee Republicans, chaired by Jodey Arrington, R-Texas
They also referenced a Republican Study Committee Budget. The group includes a healthy majority of the House GOP
The White House is also pointing to the Republican Steering Committee, chaired by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK)
President Joe Biden speaks with military members and their families at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023.
Healthcare workers and guests wave at President Joe Biden after his remarks at the Kempsville Recreation Center on February 28, 2023 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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