Administration

White House to paint Republicans as ‘extreme’ allies of special interests

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden is seen during a ceremony to sign the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promises to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.

The White House will paint Republicans as stewards of special interests who are pursuing an “extreme MAGA agenda that costs families” in the coming weeks, seeking to tie the GOP to former President Trump and his “Make American Great Again” slogan.  

A new White House memo released on Thursday says says that Biden, Vice President Harris and other Biden administration officials will fan out across the country in the coming weeks to tout job creation and elements of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to pass the House at the end of this week along party lines.   

While pressing upon voters that Republicans are tied to Trump, the effort is also intended to blunt GOP attacks on Biden over inflation and concerns about the economy.  

“The President and Congressional Democrats beat the special interests and delivered what was best for the American people,” the memo from White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and senior adviser Anita Dunn laying out the August recess message states.   

“Every step of the way, Congressional Republicans sided with the special interests — pushing an extreme MAGA agenda that costs families,” it states.   

Democrats have had mixed success seeking to make elections in which Trump isn’t on the ballot about the former president.  

A similar effort did not, for example, prevent Republican Glenn Youngkin’s election as Virginia’s governor.  

But polls do show a number of Democratic candidates for Senate doing well in polls in which they are matched up against pro-Trump GOP nominees, including Herschel Walker in Georgia and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.  

Democrats are widely seen as underdogs to retain the House majority, but the fight for the Senate could be won by either party.  

Helping Democratic optimism is the fact that Biden has notched some major wins in recent weeks.  

He signed bipartisan semiconductor legislation into law and finally witnessed a pared-down version of his climate and health care proposal pass the Senate with only Democratic support. The House is set to vote on the package on Friday.  

The new laws will offer Democrats concrete accomplishments to point to on the campaign trail. The White House has also made the case that Biden’s policies are responsible for the steady decline in gas prices.  

New data released Wednesday showed that inflation dipped in July from a 40-year high of 9.1 percent, though it still remains elevated at 8.5 percent.   

Biden has grappled with low approval ratings for months as voters have vented frustration with inflation and the high cost of gasoline and other goods.   

Asked Thursday whether voters views on the economy and inflation could be changed at this stage, a senior White House official answered that voters’ views are not “locked in” and expected Americans would take notice of things like falling gas prices.  

“I don’t see these things as frozen in time. I see them as being dynamic and people taking real time assessments of where they are and where they see things going,” the official said.  

Democratic strategists say that it’s critical for the party to make the upcoming election a choice — rather than a referendum on Biden’s first nearly two years in office.  

The memo says that Biden and his top officials will highlight elements of the Inflation Reduction Act that will lower the cost of prescription drugs and health care and combat climate change.

Biden administration officials will draw a contrast with Republicans who voted against the massive bill — the result of more than a year of negotiations on Capitol Hill — highlighting, for instance, that they blocked a $35 cap on the price of insulin that Senate Democrats sought to include in the final bill, the memo states. The pharmaceutical industry opposed elements of the bill to lower prescription drug costs.  

The messaging memo also suggests that Biden will continue to hit on a plan proposed by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) that includes a proposal to sunset all legislation every five years, which would create uncertainty for Social Security and Medicare.   

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also recently called for Congress to review and approve annual budgets of Medicare and Social Security instead of allowing them to rise automatically, comments that have landed him in hot water and provided more fodder for Biden and other Democrats.   

Earlier this year, Biden coined the term “ultra MAGA agenda” to attack the GOP, invoking Trump’s slogan.

The memo suggests that Biden will further amplify that attack line in the coming weeks by hitting Republicans for embracing abortion restrictions following the death of Roe v. Wade and opposing more stringent gun safety measures like a ban on assault-style weapons.   

Updated: 10:57 a.m.

Tags Anita Dunn Biden Climate change gas prices Inflation Insulin prices Joe Biden Kate Bedingfield MAGA
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