Biden says he won’t let GOP ‘wreck’ the economy in meeting with Dem leaders

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., left, and Vice President Kamala Harris listen as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Democratic lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden on Tuesday said he won’t let Republicans wreck the U.S. economy in his first meeting with Democratic congressional leaders in the new Congress.

“I love their 30 percent sales tax,” Biden said. “We want to talk a lot about that, but, look, I have no intention of letting the Republicans wreck our economy, nor does anybody around this table in my view.”

The president was referring to a proposal from House conservatives to do away with income taxes, payroll taxes and estate taxes and impose a 30 percent national sales tax. The Fair Tax Act was introduced by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and supported by 30 other Republicans.

The president also said at the top of the meeting that Republicans “apparently are genuinely serious about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare.” 

The White House is standing firm that it will not negotiate with Republicans in Congress who are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

The meeting on Tuesday included Vice President Harris as well as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), marking the first time Jeffries has met with Biden at the White House since taking on his new role.

Also in the meeting was White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who is expected to leave his role next month, as well as Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.).

Biden said to kick off the meeting that they will discuss funding for Ukraine and his nominations moving forward as an upcoming priority.

He also talked about accomplishments of the past two years, including on the economy, foreign policy during the war in Ukraine and the implementation of limits on the cost of insulin.

“Americans are starting to feeling the effects of some of the laws that we passed,” he said. “We’re in a situation where we promised folks on Medicare their insulin was going to go from about 400 bucks a month to 35 bucks a month, but it was a promise. Well, guess what, as of Jan. 1, it’s a reality.”

And Biden in the meeting asked the Democrats to pass an assault weapons ban.

“I am asking you all to send that to my desk as quickly as you can,” Biden said of the assault weapons ban introduced on Monday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). 

Feinstein and other Democrats also introduced legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21. Biden praised the pair of bills on Monday and cited recent shootings across the U.S.

Earlier on Tuesday, Biden renewed his call for an assault weapons ban following shootings in Half Moon Bay, Calif., that left several people dead.

He has consistently called for an assault weapons ban throughout his time in office, although it doesn’t have the votes in Congress, especially with a GOP-controlled House.

Tags Biden Buddy Carter Buddy Carter California Charles Schumer Debbie Stabenow Dianne Feinstein Dick Durbin Economy Fair Tax Act foreign aid Foreign policy Hakeem Jeffries Hakeem Jeffries Half Moon Bay insulin Katherine Clark Pete Aguilar ron klain Ron Klain U.S. House Of Representatives Ukraine-Russia conflict
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