By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters)—U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to the swing-state of Pennsylvania on Thursday to unveil a federal budget plan laden with spending proposals and higher taxes on the wealthy that will form a blueprint for his expected 2024 re-election bid.
Biden’s proposal, which resurrects many items stripped from last year’s budget plan, faces even stiffer opposition in Congress this year, after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections.
It comes in direct defiance of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s threat to block an increase in the $31.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing unless Biden agrees to rein in federal spending.
Speaking at a Philadelphia union hall, the Democratic president will highlight plans to cut the nation’s deficit by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years by raising taxes on those earning more than $400,000 a year and ending corporate tax breaks enacted in 2017 under then President Donald Trump.
A White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, contrasted Biden’s vision with that of Republicans, saying the budget would reduce the U.S. deficit while lowering costs for families.
It also proposes raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, the official said, and “tackles wasteful special interest giveaways.”
Biden’s budget plan proposes funding higher outlays and closing the deficit by imposing a 25% minimum tax on billionaires and doubling the capital gains tax from 20%, the White House official said. Biden has also said the budget will propose quadrupling a 1% stock buyback tax, while going after corporations and rich individuals who skip paying taxes.
Biden, will promise to protect those earning less than $400,000 a year from tax increases and safeguard Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. At the same time, he will offer relief to working families by investing billions to ease the cost of childcare and ensure free preschool for all of the country’s 4 million 4-year-olds, and promises to increase rail safety.
White House officials say that lowering the cost of childcare will boost the economy and allow more women to return to work. Such proposals also enjoy strong support and could help boost Biden’s low approval ratings as he gears up announce his reelection bid this spring.
Republicans say Biden’s spending during his first two years in office drove inflation to nearly 40-year highs last summer and are already readying $150 billion in cuts to non-defense discretionary programs – including about $25 billion from the Department Education and cuts in foreign aid and programs aimed at preventing sexually transmitted diseases – that they say would save $1.5 trillion over a decade.
Is there common ground? “Very little, very little,” Republican Representative Ben Cline told Reuters. “He doesn’t want to cut any spending, he just wants to raise taxes.”
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Trevor Hunnicutt, additional reporting by David Morgan, editing by Robert Birsel)
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