“This moment of peril with the war overseas and inflation surging around the world, the last thing we should be thinking about is rewarding companies for exploiting the situation,” Biden said.
The president blasted the GOP for proposals including tax cuts for big corporations and requiring programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be renewed by Congress every five years. Such a plan, Biden said, would put those programs “on the chopping block every five years” and would allow Republicans to use them as negotiating pieces.
Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for this election cycle, offered his own scathing critique of Biden as in a statement released ahead of the president’s remarks. The Florida Republican blamed the president for the nation’s inflation woes and went a step further, suggesting that Biden, the oldest man ever elected to the White House, is not of sound mind and is mentally unfit for office.
“The most effective thing Joe Biden can do to solve the inflation crisis he created is resign. He’s the problem. Getting him out of office is a quick and easy solution,” Scott said. “He’s incapable of leading and he’s incapable of carrying out his duties. Period. Everyone knows it. No one is willing to say it. But we have to, for the sake of the country. Joe Biden can’t do the job.”
Asked by a reporter to respond to Scott’s statement about his mental acuity, Biden smiled and said “I think the man has a problem.”
The president also sought to defuse the anxiety he said Americans are feeling about his administration’s performance, accusing Republicans of throwing up road blocks and then attempting to stoke anger among voters toward the White House.
“The fact is, congressional Republicans — not all of them, but the MAGA Republicans — are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which they have done everything they can to slow down, that you will hand power over to them so they can enact their extreme agenda,” Biden said.
But while Republicans have opposed much of the Biden administration agenda, the president’s party holds the majority in both houses of Congress and has nonetheless failed to deliver on several White House priorities. An administration-backed social spending package that contained a bevvy of administration priorities — including tax reforms, provisions to fight climate change, a child tax credit and universal pre-kindergarten — failed not just because of universal Republican opposition but because the bill failed to earn the support of all 50 Democratic senators with which it could have passed.
Biden’s speech also attempted to turn Democrats’ top pain point heading into the midterm elections — inflation — on its head. The president emphasized his administration’s efforts to address the recent spike in inflation and reduce the federal deficit through actions such as promoting competition and increasing domestic production of oil.
The president called inflation his “top domestic priority” and identified two leading causes of the spike in inflation: the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine. Biden listed the ways his administration is addressing inflation, such as “allowing the sale of gasoline using home-grown biofuels” to drive down oil costs and working on lowering costs of prescription drugs.
“We need a government focused on what families actually need. That’s why I urge all Americans to think about the path I have laid forward. We’re going to have to do more beyond what I laid forward,” he said.
He also outlined his administration’s efforts to reduce the federal deficit. He said under his plan, “we are on track to cut the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion this year,” which would be the biggest one-year decline in history.
“Unlike my predecessor, the deficit has gone down both years I have been here,” he said. “That is not an abstraction. It matters. It matters to families, because reducing the deficit is one of the main ways we can ease inflationary pressures.”