Biden Hammers Republicans on the Economy, With Eye on 2024

But members and factions of the Republican conference have pushed for votes on a variety of proposals that have little support among voters, including raising the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare and replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

Mr. Biden has sought to brand the entire Republican Party with those proposals, even though it is not clear if the measures have majority support in the conference or will ever come to a vote.

Former President Donald J. Trump, who has already announced his 2024 bid for the White House, has urged Republicans not to touch the safety-net programs. Other party leaders have urged Republicans not to rule out those cuts. “We should not draw lines in the sand or dismiss any option out of hand, but instead seriously discuss the trade-offs of proposals,” Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News, in which he called for Mr. Biden to negotiate over raising the debt limit.

Representative Kevin Hern, Republican of Oklahoma, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, told a tax conference in Washington this week that there are “lots of problems” with the plan to replace the income tax with a so-called fair tax on consumption. Those include incentives for policymakers to allow prices to rise rapidly in the economy in order to generate more revenue from the sales tax, he noted.

“Let’s just say it’s going to be very interesting,” Mr. Hern said at the D.C. Bar Taxation Community’s annual tax conference. “I haven’t found a Ways and Means member that’s for it.”

Despite those internal disagreements, Mr. Biden has been happy to pick and choose unpopular Republican ideas and frame them as the true contrast to his economic agenda. He has pointedly refused to cut safety-net programs and threatened to veto such efforts.

“The president is building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, and protecting Social Security and Medicare,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters this week. “Republicans want to cut Social Security, want to cut Medicare — programs Americans have earned, have paid in — and impose a 30 percent national sales tax that will increase taxes on working families. That is what they have said they want to do, and that is clearly their plan.”

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