Biden has challenged Republicans with a budget that raises taxes, setting up a 2024 run

Biden has challenged Republicans with a budget that raises taxes, setting up a 2024 run

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will tour the swing-state of Pennsylvania on Thursday to unveil a federal budget plan loaded with spending proposals and higher taxes on the wealthy that will lay a blueprint for his expected 2024 re-election bid.

Biden’s proposal, which revives 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.

That is in direct defiance of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s threat to block a $31.4 trillion increase in the federal debt ceiling unless Biden agrees to rein in federal spending.

Speaking at a union hall in Philadelphia, the Democratic president will outline a plan to cut nearly $3 trillion over 10 years by raising taxes on those earning more than $400,000 and ending a corporate tax break enacted in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump.

A White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, contrasted Biden’s view with that of Republicans, saying the budget would reduce the U.S. deficit while cutting spending for families.

It also proposes raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, the official said, and “tackling wasteful special interest payments.”

Biden’s budget plan proposes to close the deficit by imposing a 25% minimum tax on high-spending funds and billionaires and doubling the capital gains tax from 20%, the White House official said. Biden also said the budget would propose quadrupling the 1% stock buyback tax, while going after corporations and wealthy individuals who avoid paying taxes.

Biden will also promise to protect those making less than $400,000 a year from tax increases and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. At the same time, he will deliver relief to working families by investing billions to lower childcare costs and ensure free preschool for all of the country’s 4 million 4-year-olds, and promise to increase rail safety.

White House officials say lowering child care costs will boost the economy and allow more women to return to work. Such proposals also enjoy strong support and could help shore up Biden’s low approval ratings as he prepares to announce his reelection bid this spring.

Republicans say Biden’s spending in his first two years in office drove inflation to a nearly 40-year high last summer and are already poised to cut $150 billion in non-defense discretionary programs — including about $25 billion from the Education Department and cuts in foreign aid and sex. program aimed at preventing communicable diseases — which they say will save $1.5 trillion over a decade.

Is there common ground? “Very little, very little,” Republican Representative Ben Kline told Reuters. “He doesn’t want to cut any spending, he just wants to raise taxes.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Trevor Honeycutt, additional reporting by David Morgan, editing by Robert Birsel)

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