President Biden is set to go in on congressional Republicans on Tuesday while giving a speech in Virginia Beach where he is expected to blast the lawmakers for seeking cuts to programs like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Legislators are in the midst of negotiating a federal budget and seeking to avoid a potential default on the national debt. The White House has called for the debt ceiling to be raised and Biden is refusing to negotiate over this matter, a stance that officials say has not changed.
In a briefing to discuss Biden’s address on Tuesday, White House officials accused Republicans of threatening an “economic catastrophe” for the sake of their proposed budget cuts. White House Deputy Communications Director Kate Berner noted that Biden is planning to release his budget proposal on March 9.
“Unfortunately, congressional Republicans to date haven’t put forward their own budget plan. They claim cutting the deficit is a top priority, but their floated proposals — based again on what we know so far — explode the deficit and increase it by more than $3 trillion,” Berner said.
The House Budget Committee earlier this month released a list proposed areas to cut “wasteful, inefficient and unnecessary federal spending” in order to address the national debt.
These proposals included capping the extended ACA subsidies that were were put in place by the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, though analysts are skeptical over whether this measure would gain majority support among Republicans at this point.
Medicaid has not been among the proposed cuts put forward by Republicans so far. However, the White House pointed to fiscal plans from Republicans that included such reductions.
In its 2023 proposed budget, the Republican Study Committee proposed issuing block grants through Medicaid that would cap funding to states, with no annual adjustments for rises in health care costs.
“Deep cuts to Medicaid would mean worse coverage or loss of coverage for the people Medicaid covers. Outside of the ACA expansion, that mostly means seniors, people with disabilities and families with children — including 34 million kids,” Aviva Aron-Dine, deputy assistant to the president, said in the briefing.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Biden have both said that Social Security and Medicare are off the table in the current negotiations. White House officials did not confirm whether the ACA and Medicaid are similarly exempt from negotiations, but said Biden would call for these programs to be further built upon in his address.