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Biden Hammers Republicans on the Economy, With Eye on 2024


But members and factions of the Republican conference have pushed for votes on a wide range of proposals which have little support amongst voters, including raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare and replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

Mr. Biden has sought to brand the complete Republican Party with those proposals, regardless that it shouldn’t be clear if the measures have majority support within the conference or will ever come to a vote.

Former President Donald J. Trump, who has already announced his 2024 bid for the White House, has urged Republicans not to the touch the safety-net programs. Other party leaders have urged Republicans to not rule out those cuts. “We should always not draw lines within the sand or dismiss any option out of hand, but as a substitute seriously discuss the trade-offs of proposals,” Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, the highest Republican on the Finance Committee, wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News, by which he called for Mr. Biden to barter over raising the debt limit.

Representative Kevin Hern, Republican of Oklahoma, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, told a tax conference in Washington this week that there are “plenty of problems” with the plan to exchange the income tax with a so-called fair tax on consumption. Those include incentives for policymakers to permit prices to rise rapidly within the economy with a purpose to generate more revenue from the sales tax, he noted.

“Let’s just say it’s going to be very interesting,” Mr. Hern said on the D.C. Bar Taxation Community’s annual tax conference. “I haven’t found a Ways and Means member that’s for it.”

Despite those internal disagreements, Mr. Biden has been glad to select and select unpopular Republican ideas and frame them because the true contrast to his economic agenda. He has pointedly refused to chop safety-net programs and threatened to veto such efforts.

“The president is constructing an economy from the underside up and the center out, and protecting Social Security and Medicare,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters this week. “Republicans wish to cut Social Security, wish to cut Medicare — programs Americans have earned, have paid in — and impose a 30 percent national sales tax that can increase taxes on working families. That’s what they’ve said they wish to do, and that’s clearly their plan.”

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