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As Biden unveils his budget plan, where’s McCarthy’s alternative?

The White House’s budget plan is now available in writing, subject to scrutiny. Do House Republicans have the courage to follow suit?


President Joe Biden will deliver remarks in Philadelphia, touting his new White House budget plan. As The Washington Post reported, it is, by any measure, an ambitious governing document.

The White House revived calls for an aggressive transformation of the economy paid for by massive new taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans in its 2024 budget proposal on Thursday, likely previewing President Biden’s reelection campaign — and directly challenging Republicans as the government draws closer to what could be a catastrophic default on the national debt. The president’s budget calls for paring back the deficit over the next decade while also spending more than $2 trillion on dozens of new domestic policy initiatives, paid for by raising more than $4.5 trillion in new revenue primarily through hefty tax hikes on high earners and large corporations.

It’s no secret that the budget plan, in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, will not be widely embraced on Capitol Hill. In fact, House Republicans will very likely ignore it.

But that doesn’t make the document irrelevant.

Biden and his team set out to put together a credible package that sharply reduces the deficit — ostensibly a GOP goal — while investing in the economy, protecting social insurance programs, and leaving tax rates untouched for Americans making less than $400,000 a year. As the newly unveiled budget blueprint shows, the White House succeeded with a plan most Democrats are going to like.

The president makes sure his vision is paid for by rolling back ineffective Trump-era tax breaks for the wealthy, along with a new minimum tax on billionaires, an increased tax on stock buybacks, and the restoration of a 28% corporate tax rate.

White House budgets are supposed to provide us with a sense of the president’s governing vision, and by any fair measure, this document does that, whether it’ll be taken seriously in the GOP-led House or not.

But just as important is the degree to which today’s announcement sets the stage for the fight to come.

In case anyone needs a reminder, the new House Republican majority is threatening to cause a deliberate economic catastrophe unless Democrats agree to a series of demands — none of which GOP leaders have identified.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters yesterday that Biden hasn’t yet called him to set up a meeting for budget negotiations. “I think it looks very bad on his part that he’s not talking,” the Republican leader argued.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added soon after, by way of a statement published to Twitter, “Speaker McCarthy should release the budget they want to discuss.”

This morning, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries echoed the sentiment during a Capitol Hill press conference. “Show us your plan,” the New York Democrat said in a message directed at his Republican counterparts. “What are you hiding from the American people?”

Jeffries added, “We’re still waiting for extreme MAGA Republicans in the House to show us [their] plan. How do you want to invest in building an economy for everyday Americans? How do you propose dealing with the challenges that you often talk about with respect to the deficit? Are you committed to undermining Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?”

Yes, the rhetoric sounded like a taunt, but it gets at the heart of the current challenge: McCarthy wants to have budget talks, but he doesn’t want to produce a budget plan. The House speaker expects to have negotiations in which he never has to put his cards on the table.

This won’t work because it can’t work. The White House’s plan is now available in writing, subject to scrutiny. Until Republicans have the courage to follow suit, there will be no progress.