Senate Republicans tore into President Joe Biden’s 2024 budget plan on March 22, holding that the administration has been “radical and reckless” in its spending.
“The one thing I think Republicans agree on is the president’s budget spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much, and underfunds our most important priority, which is national security,” Sen. John Thune (R-N.C.) told reporters at the Capitol after his caucus’ weekly policy luncheon.
Thune, the Senate Minority Whip, led the press conference in the absence of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who continues to recover from a March 8 fall.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), echoing Thune’s remarks, held that Biden’s economic policies had already done “irreversibly bad” damage to the United States.
“Families all across the country are living in a state of stress—that’s because our nation’s economy is in distress,” he said, citing skyrocketing interest rates and inflation.
Further warning that Biden’s “bloated” budget would simply add to that distress, Barrasso asserted that the administration and Democrats were “completely out of touch” with the American people.
“[Biden’s] not doing all that he could to deal with the pain, and the problems, and heartache that are facing American families,” he said. “But yet, the Democrats once again are doubling down on taxes and spending.”
Democrats Cry Foul
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), after his caucus’ policy luncheon, criticized House Republicans over their hesitancy to raise the debt ceiling amid the turmoil in the global banking system following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
“Undermining the full faith and credit of the U.S. is never a good idea, but in the aftermath of a major bank collapse, it’s supremely reckless,” Schumer charged. “They’re threatening a global economic crisis over the debt limit at the same time we have this problem in the banking industry. And of course, as we know, they are still refusing to tell the American people their plan. It’s ridiculous; it’s reckless.
“Instead of making radical comments that threaten even more financial turmoil, Republicans should work with Democrats to ensure a default never happens,” the senator added, urging the GOP to raise the debt ceiling “without strings attached.”
Currently, the national debt ceiling—which limits how much debt the government can hold at one time—rests at more than $31 trillion. In January, the government approached that limit, at which point the Treasury Department was forced to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent default.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the debt limit is not raised by this summer.
Republicans, on the other hand, maintain that significant spending cuts are necessary to alleviate the financial burden on future generations, and some have proposed capping discretionary spending for fiscal year 2024 at 2022 levels. However, that plan has been criticized by agency bureaucrats and Democrats, who described the cuts as “unrealistic, unsustainable, and unconscionable.”
Still, Thune pushed back on Schumer’s criticism Wednesday, noting that Senate Democrats had yet to put forward a budget proposal of their own.
“And we would welcome the opportunity—if they want to—to vote on the president’s budget because I think when the American people find out what’s in it, they’re going to hate it,” he said.