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“Not on my watch“ – Biden attacks House Republicans“ economic plans


President Joe Biden used a speech at a steamfitters union hall in Virginia on Thursday to launch an attack against Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives, saying some of their proposals are dangerous for the U.S. economy.

In his first major economic speech of the year, Biden promoted his record on the U.S. economy, including the creation of more manufacturing jobs, a low unemployment rate and better-than-expected economic growth figures, and lay into the new policies proposed by some Republicans.

“They want to raise your gas prices. They want to cut taxes for billionaires,” Biden said. “They want to impose a 30 percent national sales tax,” he added.

Biden, who is laying the groundwork for a bid for re-election in 2024, told union members in Springfield, Virginia that he would veto any such bills. “Not on my watch, I will veto everything they send us,” he said.

Republicans seized control of the House by a narrow margin in last November’s midterm elections and in the weeks since have threatened to refuse to raise the U.S. debt ceiling limit and planned investigations of the Democratic president’s Cabinet and family.

The House passed a bill to slash the Internal Revenue Service budget, and some Republicans propose cutting Social Security and Medicare, retirement and healthcare spending programs for senior citizens.

Biden has sought to portray them as out of step with the concerns of Americans.

“We’ve got to protect those gains that our policies have generated, protect them from the MAGA Republicans in the House of Representatives who are threatening to destroy this progress,” Biden said.

The economy under Biden has been gripped by inflation that is now ebbing, as are fears that a recession is imminent. U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 2.9% annualized rate in last year’s fourth quarter, exceeding expectations, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted as Biden started his speech: “If President Biden is so eager to speak on the economy, then he should set a date to discuss a responsible debt ceiling increase.”

“We must finally address Washington’s irresponsible government spending if we want to put America on a better fiscal path,” he wrote.

Biden has also warned he would veto Republican proposals on the strategic petroleum reserves, cutting taxes on corporations and a national sales tax should they reach his desk. Biden’s Democrats control the Senate.

The bill on the strategic petroleum reserve was one a series of political messaging measures that the House passed in its first week of business, and it is seen as having little to no chance of being taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The national sales tax proposal is included in the Fair Tax Act of 2023, introduced on Jan. 9 by Republican Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter of Georgia, would replace the U.S. income, payroll, estate and gift taxes with a 23% sales tax and stop funding the Internal Revenue Service after 2027.

McCarthy responded “no” this week when asked by reporters if he supported the bill, which Georgia Republicans have been introducing without success since 1999.

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers an economic speech at SteamFitters UA Local 602 in Springfield, Virginia, U.S., January 26, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

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