Biden Smacks Down Deficit Scolds

US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen (R) listen while US President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 relief from the State Dining Room of the White House February 5, 2021, i... US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen (R) listen while US President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 relief from the State Dining Room of the White House February 5, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

President Biden on Friday showed no inclination towards pumping the brakes on pushing his COVID-19 relief through Congress so that he could continue negotiations with the GOP lawmakers who are advocating for a much smaller package.

“They’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go,” Biden said of the Hill Republicans who have countered his $1.9 trillion proposal with one a third of that size. He made his remarks from the White House after meeting with Democratic House leaders.

Biden was forceful in saying he won’t get bogged down in a months-long negotiation or compromise with a bill that’s insufficient to meet the current crisis. “I am going to help the American people who are hurting now,” he said.

Biden’s comments came after the Senate kickstarted the so-called reconciliation process that, by circumventing a filibuster, will allow a COVID-19 response bill to move along without Republican support.

“What Republicans have proposed is either to do nothing or not enough,” Biden said, adding that he could not in “good conscience” go along with the GOP push to spend less. He also seemed to slap away concerns raised in a Thursday op-ed by Larry Summers, President Obama’s Treasury secretary, that the White House was overestimating what it would cost to address the COVID 19 outbreak’s economic consequences.

“The biggest is risk is not going too big, it’s if we go to small,” Biden said. He argued that by not spending enough, the Obama administration’s 2009 response package to the economic crisis prolonged the recovery.

His comments included some sharp words for the Republicans criticizing the cost of his proposals after going along with the deficit spending that happened under the Trump administration, including with GOP tax cuts that will cost the government trillions of dollars.

“All of the sudden, many of them have rediscovered fiscal restraint and the concern for the deficits,” Biden said. “But don’t kid yourself. This approach will come with a cost:  more pain, for more people, for longer than it has to be.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: