WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) praised President Joe Biden’s track record on the economy while voicing frustration with House Republicans’ economic proposals on Thursday.
Jeffries touted the economic achievements of Biden’s first two years: economic growth and wages are up, while inflation and gas prices are beginning to fall. He also highlighted the 10 million jobs that have been created since Biden came into office, along with a record number of small business startup applications.
It comes as the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Thursday morning that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9% during the last quarter of 2022 – a solid growth rate in spite of lingering fears that the country is headed toward a recession. Biden is set to speak on his economic achievements on Thursday afternoon in Virginia.
Jeffries then lambasted Republicans for their proposal for a 30% national sales tax and demands to cut spending in order to get their votes to raise the debt limit.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said. “Team extreme. Extreme, MAGA Republicans.”
Democrats this week have repeatedly hit the sales tax proposal, although House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday he doesn’t support the measure.
Jeffries repeated Democrats’ commitment to protecting social safety net programs during any budget negotiations. He questioned what Republicans want to cut to earn their votes to raise the debt ceiling.
“Show us the plan,” he said. “What is your plan to address your concerns? Is it to radically cut Social Security? Radically cut Medicare? Drastically diminish veterans’ benefits?”
Despite his criticisms, Jeffries did appear to confirm news reports that his interactions with McCarthy are off to a productive start.
“We’ve had a very positive, forward-looking relationship,” he said. “I hope and expect that that will continue. And we’re going to continue to try and find common ground wherever and whenever possible.”