White House to use congressional recess to hit GOP on spending proposals

The White House is set to go on offense against congressional Republicans over the debt ceiling in the coming days, as members of Congress prepare to leave town for a two-week recess.

The White House on Thursday will release fact sheets individualized for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, outlining how budget cuts in line with what some Republicans are suggesting would affect public safety, public health and other programs in each location.

A fact sheet for New York state warns that cuts proposed by Republicans would reduce rail safety inspections, eliminate food assistance for thousands of residents and increase wait times for seniors applying for disability benefits.

The fact sheets are based on an assumed 22 percent cut to government spending across the board. The conservative House Freedom Caucus earlier this month issued a proposal to cut $131 billion from government spending while keeping defense spending at current levels, though overall GOP proposals to cut spending are expected to be more targeted.

The administration will also hold a press call with state and local reporters to highlight the impacts of broad cuts to explain “in real terms how MAGA House Republicans’ extreme plans will jeopardize jobs and families in every city, town and state,” according to a White House official.

President Biden will also be in Minnesota on Monday to tout investments made through legislation passed during his administration.

The blitz from the White House comes as Biden and his staff have attempted to highlight the contrast between the president’s own budget proposal and the lack of a clear plan from House Republicans, while simultaneously sounding the alarm about the risks of not raising the debt ceiling.

White House officials huddled Thursday morning with House Democrats, including Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), to discuss investments being made across the country and their strategy for pressing Republicans on their own budget plans.

“We cannot go over the debt limit. That would be unacceptable,” Hoyer told reporters after the meeting. “And I hope that every responsible member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, understands that.”

The White House released Biden’s budget proposal on March 9, which included proposed tax increases on the wealthiest Americans as part of an effort to lower the deficit over 10 years and fund Medicare. The document was essentially dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but has become a key messaging tool for the White House as it attacks the GOP for not putting forward its own proposals.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week wrote to Biden asking the White House to reach out to set up a date for their next meeting by the end of the week. The Speaker also laid out some areas to negotiate spending cuts, such as reducing non-defense government spending to pre-inflationary levels and limiting out-year growth and rescinding unspent COVID-19 funds.

In response, Biden called on Republicans to release a budget before leaving town for Easter recess, saying “we should both tell the American people what we are for.”

The president has also been adamant that any negotiations over government spending should be completely separate from a vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Congress must raise the debt ceiling by roughly June to avoid a default, which could send the economy spiraling, costing jobs and wiping out savings for many Americans.

“As I have repeatedly said, that conversation must be separate from prompt action on the Congress’ basic obligation to pay the Nation’s bills and avoid economic catastrophe,” Biden wrote to McCarthy on Tuesday. “I look forward to your response, to eliminating the specter of default, and to your budget.”

Tags budget debt ceiling debt ceiling showdown Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy spending cuts white house

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