Biden Taunts McCarthy Over Fraught Spending Priorities: Offers To Meet With Speaker ‘If He Has His Budget’


President Joe Biden said Thursday he is ready to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to discuss the government’s fiscal year 2024 budget at “any time . . . if he has his budget”—a jab at House Republicans whose agenda is racked by tense intraparty disagreements and spending promises that experts warn are mathematically impossible.

Key Facts

Biden made the comments during a speech in Philadelphia that came hours after he unveiled his proposed $6.8 trillion fiscal year 2024 budget plan, which House Republicans have promised to drastically modify in an effort to cut federal spending.

Democrats have raised concerns about the absence of a concrete GOP plan over the past several months, as Republicans have vowed to balance the budget by reducing federal spending without raising taxes, but have also pledged to preserve Medicare and Social Security, which account for a massive share of the government’s budget.

Experts say the goal is all but impossible: An analysis by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that in order to develop a budget over the next decade that does not add to the federal deficit, all spending would need to be cut by roughly 25%.

The math gets even tougher if defense, veterans, Social Security and Medicare spending are off the table, a scenario that would require an 85% cut to all other programs to achieve a balanced budget by 2034, the group reported.

McCarthy also has a tough negotiating process ahead within his own conference, where far-right members asserted a level of dominance during the speaker election that showed just how far they are willing to go in order to secure their demands, one of which includes reverting back to fiscal year 2022 spending levels.

Alluding to the chaos, House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Tx.) told CNN on Wednesday that Republicans would not unveil their spending plan until May, a comment her spokesperson later walked back by saying there was no timeline, Punchbowl reported.

Chief Critic

Amid attacks from GOP leadership calling Biden’s budget “reckless” and “unserious,” Democrats fired a fresh round of jabs at Republicans on Thursday over what they say is a non-existent plan. “The House Republican budget plan is in the witness protection program, it’s in hiding,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said, alleging that Republicans are withholding the plan because it will inevitably include cuts to programs they’ve promised to preserve, including Medicare, Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

Key Background

Biden released a $6.8 trillion fiscal year 2024 spending plan on Thursday that aims to reduce the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years, in part by raising an additional $5 trillion in tax revenue over the course of a decade. The plan is more symbolic than it is practical, however, since the GOP-controlled House will also have to approve the budget before it can be passed to the Democratic-controlled Senate and signed into law by Biden. The process faces a deadline of September 30, when the current fiscal year ends. Biden’s plan includes a flurry of new taxes on the wealthy and corporations, including a 25% minimum tax for the top 0.01% of earners. The proposal also calls for an increase from 21% to 28% on the corporate tax rate, a reversal of a Trump-era tax reduction. In addition, Biden’s plan would nearly double the 20% capital gains tax for investors making at least $1 million.


McCarthy and the top three House Republicans—Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.), Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.), and Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.)—attacked Biden on Thursday for “proposing out of control spending and delaying debt negotiations” in a statement that calls the federal deficit “a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Republicans have also complained that Biden unveiled his budget a month after the typical release date on the first Monday in February. McCarthy said Thursday Republicans were set to release their budget in April, but because “the President’s so late with his budget, it delays our budget,” CNN reported.

Further Reading

Biden Will Propose A New 25% Minimum ‘Billionaires Tax’ In 2024 Budget, Report Says (Forbes)

Biden Unveils $6.8 Trillion Budget With New Tax Revenue—Here’s What To Know (Forbes)

Billionaires, Buybacks And Medicare: How Biden’s 2024 Budget Outlines Trillions Of Dollars In Proposed New Taxes (Forbes)