President Biden will head to Virginia Beach, Virginia, Tuesday, where he will deliver a speech accusing Republicans of putting health care programs “on the chopping block” ahead of the rollout of his own budget proposal.
The president’s remarks will come as Congress and the White House are negotiating spending priorities ahead of this summer’s deadline to raise the debt ceiling. House Republicans, in their new majority, are insisting that the Democratic-controlled Senate and Biden agree to cut spending before Congress approves raising the debt limit past $31.4 trillion.
However, Democrats are accusing Republicans of making hypocritical demands, pointing to GOP tax cut proposals they say have added trillions to the debt and asserting that the only way to balance the budget under the Republicans’ plan is to slash popular entitlement programs like Medicaid.
White House officials said Biden will make this case in Virginia, where he will speak about the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Biden will argue that the GOP tax cut agenda would add over $3 trillion to the national debt, meaning that if Republicans are serious in their demands to balance the budget, they have committed themselves to trillions in program cuts, “repealing the Affordable Care Act and slashing Medicaid.”
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“It’s a conversation about some very simple arithmetic,” said Aviva Aron-Dine, the president and deputy director of the National Economic Council and top economic adviser to the president.
“Congressional Republicans have said that capping the debt is among their top economic priorities and Speaker McCarthy has even promised to balance the budget. But they’ve also laid out an agenda that starts by increasing the debt by over $3 trillion with tax cuts due to the wealthy and big corporations and by repealing the prescription drug reforms enacted last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. So, as a matter of simple math, that means they have committed themselves to many trillions in program cuts,” Aron-Dine told reporters on a conference call.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and virtually every other Republican who is asked, has repeatedly denied a plan to touch Social Security or Medicare. However, for months now, Biden has demanded that GOP lawmakers make their spending proposals public, saying, “show me your budget, and I’ll show you mine.”
The president is set to release his budget on March 9, which administration officials claim will cut the deficit by $2 trillion over 10 years without raising taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.
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After meeting with the president at the beginning of February, McCarthy was asked where Republicans will cut the budget. “I’m not going to negotiate this in the press,” McCarthy said.
In the absence of a public proposal from GOP leaders, Biden will point to previous statements and plans Republicans have put forward to argue that they are gearing up to cut health care programs.
The White House published a fact-sheet Tuesday, noting, “virtually every Republican budget or fiscal plan over the last decade has included repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and deep cuts to Medicaid.” Biden’s officials insist cutting these popular programs would result in higher health care costs for tens of millions of Americans, lost health care coverage for tens of millions more, and the end of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
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Opponents of the ACA have argued before that those protections and other essential health benefits insurance companies are required to offer have contributed to rising premium and deductible costs.
One prominent ACA opponent is Russ Vought, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Trump who now leads the Center for Renewing America. Vought, a highly qualified expert on the federal budget, is reportedly advising House Republicans on their debt ceiling strategy. He has circulated his own 10-year budget proposal on Capitol Hill that would make $9 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, including $2 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and more than $600 billion in cuts to the ACA, according to the Washington Post.
The White House pointed to Vought’s budget proposals as evidence the Republican agenda is targeting health care programs. Biden will deliver a spirited defense of those programs Tuesday and will call on Republicans to release a “full and detailed budget plan, including what it cuts from the ACA and Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, and other critical programs,” the White House said.
“We’re glad the Administration has moved off their lies about Republicans and Social Security and Medicare,” Vought told Fox News Digital when reached for comment. “Now we hope they will look at our ideas to cut woke and weaponized bureaucracy and ensure that Medicaid is available for vulnerable populations.”
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