By Andrea Shalal
LARGO, Maryland (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that Republican-backed spending cuts would take a toll on the U.S. economy and voters, as the clock ticks down to a possible government shutdown.
The federal government would enter its fourth shutdown in a decade next month unless the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Democratic-run Senate can pass a long- or short-term funding bill and Biden signs it into law.
The House and Senate are due to be in session for about 12 days before funding for the U.S. government expires on Sept. 30.
Some House Republicans are demanding to cut spending for fiscal 2024 to $1.47 trillion, about $120 billion less than Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed in May in a deal on the debt ceiling. The White House and Senate leaders – including top Republican Mitch McConnell – have rejected that House Republican demand.
“They’re back at it again, breaking their commitment, threatening more cuts and threatening to shut down government again,” Biden said in a speech at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. He listed estimates of what the cuts would mean to education programs and safety programs.
“For all the time they spend attacking me and my plan … they never talk about what they want to do,” Biden said. “Their plan – MAGAnomics – is more extreme than anything Americans have seen before.”
The White House will spend “much of this fall” season criticizing Republican fiscal plans, which it is calling “MAGAnomics.” The term was used by former President Donald Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney to describe Trump’s “Make America Great Again” strategy of corporate tax cuts and slashing regulations.
Biden, a Democrat, is running for reelection in 2024. Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination. An extended government shutdown or sharp spending cuts could slow U.S. growth ahead of campaign season.
Biden has introduced “Bidenomics,” a plan to restructure the U.S. economy by investing in infrastructure, green energy and manufacturing, while pushing companies to share more profits with workers, consumers and the government.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1% annualized rate last quarter, while the 3.8% unemployment rate is just above decades-low levels.
But that performance is not resonating with American people displeased with rising interest rates and prices at the grocery store and gas station. Consumer prices rose 3.7% over the last year, though the rate of inflation has slowed in recent months.
Biden’s public approval rating stands at 42%, with voters saying the economy remains the most important issue.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Nandita Bose and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)