President Joe Biden on Thursday will make his opening offer in a high-stakes debate over federal finances as he proposes a federal budget that would cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade.
It’s part of a broader attempt by the president to call out House Republicans, who are demanding severe cuts to federal spending in return for lifting the government’s legal borrowing limit. But the GOP has no counter offer so far, other than a flat “no” to a budget plan that could form the policy spine of Biden’s yet-to-be-declared campaign for reelection in 2024.
“We see this as a value statement,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday. “This is something that shows the American people that we take this very seriously when we think about the fiscal responsibility, when we think about how do we move forward.”
Biden’s package of tax and spending priorities is unlikely to pass the House or Senate as proposed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted in advance that the plan “will not see the light of day,” a sign that it might primarily serve as a messaging document going into the 2024 elections.
Biden will unveil his spending plan in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, staking out what he believes is popular terrain that will make it hard for Republicans to criticize without risking blowback. Biden wants to impose tax hikes on the wealthy to limit federal borrowing, including a reversal of the 2017 tax cuts made by then President Donald Trump on people earning above $400,000. The added revenues would help to improve Medicare, the government health insurance program for adults over 65.
In the run-up to the plan’s release, Biden has floated a new tax on incomes above $100 million that would target billionaires. He’s called for lower prescription drug prices. The tax that companies pay on stock buybacks would be quadrupled, and those earning above $400,000 would pay an additional Medicare tax that would help to keep the program solvent beyond the year 2050.
Biden’s budget would seek to close the “carried interest” loophole that allows wealthy hedge fund managers and others to pay their taxes at a lower rate, and prevent billionaires from being able to set aside large amounts of their holdings in tax-favored retirement accounts, according to an administration official. The plan also projects saving $24 billion over 10 years by removing a tax subsidy for cryptocurrency transactions.