President Biden on Wednesday praised his party’s legislative success in the first two years of his administration and urged House Democrats to spend the next two years making sure voters know it, too.
As a keynote speaker on the opening day of the House Democrats’ annual business conference in Baltimore, the president ticked off a list of accomplishments in the first half of his term: passage of the American Rescue Plan, Cut Inflation Act , bipartisan infrastructure law, Chips and Science Act, a limited gun bill, and marriage equality.
In addition, he pointed to a 3.4% unemployment rate, 12 million new jobs, seven months of declining inflation, a significant drop in gasoline prices from their pandemic peak and an economy that has grown steadily.
“Folks, everyone knows how much we’ve come, but much of the country still doesn’t,” Biden said. “That’s why the big job ahead of us is to implement the laws we’ve passed so that people start to see it in their lives: all the benefits that exist because you produced them for them. You took a step forward and you did it”.
Biden stressed that more needs to be done, including passing police reform, immigration reform, voting rights legislation, codifying a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion, banning assault weapons and magazines. high capacity, and the rewriting of the tax code, all of which are unlikely. go anywhere in the new era of divided government with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats running the Senate.
“Look, I know as well as you that the MAGA Republicans are not going to get on board with most of these things, but that leaves a lot of Republicans still left,” Biden said.
However, House Republicans are focusing on their own legislative priorities and using their new committees to launch investigations into the administration.
One issue House Republicans must eventually work with Democrats on is raising the debt limit to prevent the United States from defaulting. Biden, who met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) at the White House this year to discuss the debt limit, has challenged Republicans to show him exactly where they want to cut spending to reduce the deficit.
Biden, who will publish his annual budget proposal next week, has said he will reduce the deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade.
He criticized Republicans for playing politics with the nation’s credit rating, particularly after voting three times to raise the debt limit during the Trump administration without demanding spending cuts.
“We’re not going to sit here and be lectured by these people about fiscal responsibility. Almost 25% of all the national debt, which took over 200 years to accumulate, my predecessor added almost 25% in four years,” Biden said. “They sure don’t act like the party that cares about fiscal responsibility.”
McCarthy has said he won’t raise taxes to reduce the deficit, and House Republicans have vowed that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are also off the table.
“During the State of the Union address, I was pleased to see so many Republicans stand up when I asked them to join us in rejecting cuts to Social Security,” Biden said. “I have been to many State of the Unions and I have never seen one like this. But they all stood up. The interesting thing is that they won’t be able to forget, it’s all in the camera.”