President Biden is doubling down on his calls for Republicans to release a detailed budget proposal in a taunt to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as debt ceiling talks remain stalled.
Speaking to reporters early Saturday upon his return to the U.S. from a four-day trip to Ireland, Mr. Biden said “of course” he will speak with Mr. McCarthy but said called on the California Republican to “show me his budget.”
“You know, he — we agreed early on, I’d lay down a budget, which I did on March 9th, and he’d lay down a budget,” Mr. Biden said after disembarking Air Force One in Dover, Delaware. “I don’t know what we’re negotiating if I don’t know what they want, what they’re going to do.”
House Republicans are proposing a pathway to raising the debt limit until May of next year in exchange for broad caps on spending, according to details released on Thursday.
The GOP proposal would call for a cap on either non-defense discretionary spending or overall discretionary spending after paring the federal budget back to 2022 levels.
The proposal would also claw back unspent COVID-19 funds, block President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan that is currently tied up in a Supreme Court battle, institute work requirements for social welfare programs and implement the Republican plan to lower energy costs, which passed the House but is expected to languish in the Senate.
Details of the draft plan, which is being led by Rep. Garret Graves, Louisiana Republican, were first reported by Punchbowl News.
Republicans are attempting to reinvigorate stalled debt limit negotiations with the White House when they return to Washington next week.
But the Republican proposal is likely a non-starter for the White House.
Last month, the White House trashed a proposal put forward by the House Freedom Caucus meant to set the bar in the Republican Party as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, eyes a return to negotiations with the president.
Several of the measures proposed by the ultra-conservative group carried over into the initial draft proposal up for consideration by the broader GOP conference.
Among the Freedom Caucus’ demands are reversing Mr. Biden‘s embattled $400 billion student loan write-off, clawing back unspent COVID-19 funds, rescinding the $80 billion IRS beef-up approved last December and capping discretionary spending at 2022 levels for the next decade.
The group says that its plan to cap discretionary spending alone, while allowing for 1% annual growth, would save $3 trillion over the long term while “cutting the wasteful, woke and weaponized federal bureaucracy.”
The White House accused the conservative bloc of threatening to cut funding for law enforcement, border security, education and manufacturing while introducing “tax breaks for the super-wealthy and wasteful spending for special interests.”
The Republican proposals fly in the face of Mr. Biden’s recently released $6.8 trillion budget for 2024, which envisions a surge in social program spending and roughly $5.5. trillion in new taxes.
The budget, which would set the U.S. on a course for record spending as a percentage of the economy, calls for an 8% increase over what the government is projected to spend in the current fiscal year.
The Treasury Department began taking “extraordinary measures” in January to stave off default when the government hit its $31.4 trillion borrowing capacity. Those emergency measures are expected to give the government enough breathing room to cover day-to-day expenses until the summer.
Mr. Biden has called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling without conditions and accused Republicans of using the full faith and credit of the nation as a bargaining chip to cut vital programs such as Social Security.
The White House has said that both Republicans and Democrats have contributed to the national debt and that both parties should come together to raise the debt limit.
“They’re putting our economy in jeopardy by threatening to refuse to pay America’s bills that took 200 years to accumulate,” Mr. Biden said during a recent swing through Minnesota. “Not this year, last year, [but] 200 years.”
The president has also signaled that he will not return to the negotiating table until Republicans put forward a detailed budget.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the U.S. government has already borrowed $1.1 trillion this fiscal year to make interest payments on the debt.
- Haris Alic contributed to this report.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.