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President Joe Biden took a swing at Republicans at his first press conference on Thursday, criticizing their aversion to additional federal spending now that a Democrat is sitting in the White House.
“Did you hear them complain when they passed close to a $2 trillion Trump tax cut, 83% going to the top 1%?” he asked, referring to the outsized share of benefits that went to the wealthiest Americans under Trump’s 2017 tax cut. That law passed via the reconciliation process, just as Biden’s similarly sized stimulus did, which features expanded aid to parents, $1,400 direct payments to most taxpayers, and expanded unemployment benefits.
He went on: “I love the fact they found this whole idea of concern about the federal budget. It’s kind of amazing. When the federal budget is saving people’s lives, they don’t think it’s such a good idea.”
The remarks illustrate some of the challenges that Biden faces as he presses ahead with the rest of his domestic agenda. Fresh off his first major legislative victory with a $1.9 trillion stimulus law, the president is now expected to unveil a $3 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday.
However, Republicans are opposed to the tax increases that Democrats are seeking to finance it.
Earlier today, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told NPR that the central bank is more concerned about ensuring an economic recovery than the national debt. He acknowledged the path of the debt is unsustainable, but its current level isn’t cause for major concern at this point.
This story will be updated.