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Biden releases 2024 budget proposal with eye toward reelection

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Biden's budget plan aims to cut federal deficit by $3 trillion over next decade 03:38

Washington — The White House released President Biden's annual budget proposal on Thursday, laying out his administration's priorities for the next fiscal year as he readies an expected reelection bid with Republicans in control of the House.

Mr. Biden traveled to Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state, to unveil details of his budget, which represents a direct challenge to Republicans who aim to dramatically cut government spending. In his speech to members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Mr. Biden touted his dedication to unions, emphasized what his administration is doing to cut health care costs and expressed the need to fund early childhood education.

"Folks, here's why I'm here today: For too long, working people have been breaking their necks, but the economy's left them behind, working people like you, while those at the top get away with everything, get everything," Mr. Biden said. 

President Biden talks about his proposed federal budget during an event at the Finishing Trades Institute on March 9, 2023, in Philadelphia.
President Biden talks about his proposed federal budget during an event at the Finishing Trades Institute on March 9, 2023, in Philadelphia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The 182-page proposal projects federal government spending of $6.9 trillion in fiscal year 2024. The White House said the plan would reduce the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by raising trillions of dollars in taxes on the wealthy and corporations, including by instituting a 25% minimum tax on the top 0.01% wealthiest Americans, while boosting investments in child care, education, housing and health care.

The president's budget serves as a starting point for negotiations with lawmakers, who are ultimately responsible for crafting and passing spending bills that keep the government running. Presidents' budgets as proposed are never identical to what Congress passes, particularly when the opposition party controls one or both chambers, but they are useful for revealing the administration's priorities and expectations. As he and other presidents have done before, Mr. Biden released this budget proposal weeks after a deadline of early February.

The White House said the president's budget would lower costs for families and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, including by raising taxes on the most affluent Americans, a nonstarter with House Republicans. The president is proposing to increase the Medicare tax rate on income above $400,000 to 5%, up from the current rate of 3.8%. The White House said the president's proposal would also close loopholes on Medicare taxes and keep the program solvent for another 25 years.

Mr. Biden has made protecting Social Security or Medicare central to his message since his State of the Union address, when GOP lawmakers loudly objected to his characterization of their position on entitlements. The president and Democrats have heavily criticized a proposal from GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida in 2022 that would have made all federal programs subject to renewal every five years. (He later amended his plan to exclude Medicare and Social Security.)

Republicans in Congress have not yet released a budget proposal of their own nor detailed what specific spending cuts they would like to see. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the president's plan "completely unserious." 

"He proposes trillions in new taxes that you and your family will pay directly or through higher costs," McCarthy tweeted. "Mr. President: Washington has a spending problem, NOT a revenue problem."

Despite initial GOP opposition, when Mr. Biden was asked if his proposal has any chance of passing, he said, "Yeah, I think a lot of it does." 

Lawmakers and the White House are facing a summer deadline for raising or suspending the nation's borrowing limit to avoid a potentially catastrophic default. Last week, McCarthy told reporters there had been no further outreach from the White House on the debt limit since he met with the president earlier this year, but said talks could pick back up after the president releases his budget.

"I want to make it clear," Mr. Biden said Thursday. "I'm ready to meet with the speaker anytime. Tomorrow, if he has his budget."

The president suggested that negotiating with current House Republicans won't be like it was decades ago. 

"This is not your father's Republican Party, as I said before," Mr. Biden said. "MAGA Republicans are threatening to default on the national debt." 

McCarthy has said that any suspension or raising of the debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts, but has said Social Security and Medicare should be off the table in negotiations.

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