President Joe Biden on Friday criticized Republicans and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s proposed midterm agenda, describing the plan as a “thin series of policy goals” in his latest campaign speech.
Biden’s speech is part of a broader, ramped up effort by the President and the Democratic Party to capitalize on recent political wins and illustrate their differences with Republicans ahead of the November midterm elections. The President’s remarks came within hours of McCarthy’s event in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, where he unveiled the House GOP platform, dubbed the “Commitment to America.”
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went to Pennsylvania and unveiled what he calls a ‘Commitment to America.’ Now that’s a thin series of policy goals with little or no detail that he says Republicans are going to pursue if they regain control of the Congress,” Biden told a packed auditorium on Friday at a Democratic National Committee event at the National Education Association’s headquarters in Washington.
He added: “In the course of nearly an hour, here’s a few of the things we didn’t hear: We didn’t hear him mention the right to choose, we didn’t hear him mention Medicare, we didn’t hear him mention Social Security.”
McCarthy’s plan focused on four main planks – the economy, crime and border security, education and government accountability. There is also a nod to the culture wars, with Republicans vowing to ensure “only women can compete in women’s sports.” But the document is generally light on specific policy details, making vague promises like protecting “the lives of unborn children and their mothers,” without articulating how they plan to do so.
During his remarks on Friday, the President touted policy wins since he took office, as well as promised to codify Roe v. Wade, protect Social Security and pass an assault weapons ban – if the Democrats keep control of Congress.
Biden specifically called out Republicans for supporting the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election – which he argued has become a litmus test to “pledge loyalty to Donald Trump.” The President said that while not all Republicans are “MAGA Republicans,” it’s “self-evident” that “MAGA Republicans” control the party. He also criticized Republicans who have failed to condemn the insurrection and called out GOP members for supporting calls to defund the FBI.
“Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you can’t condemn what happened on January the 6th,” Biden said, referring to the riot at the Capitol in 2021, adding: “You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection. You can’t claim to be a party of law and order and call the people who attacked the police on January 6 patriots.”
The President railed against Republicans’ attempts to ban abortions, the GOP’s past tax cuts – which he argued “benefited the top 1%” and the party’s opposition to efforts he said would make communities safer.
Democrats have seized on a proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, that would implement a federal ban abortion in most cases at 15 weeks of pregnancy. And in Friday’s speech, Biden specifically leaned into criticizing Republican attempts to restrict abortion access – despite it being an issue he had previously been wary of discussing at length publicly.
“In 46 days, America is going to choose,” the President said. “If Republicans win control (of) the Congress, abortion will be banned. And by the way, it will be initially banned. But if they win Congress, I will veto it.”
The White House continues to target Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s proposed GOP agenda, which includes a requirement that federal legislation would sunset every five years unless reauthorized by Congress.
Biden on Friday criticized the House GOP’s “longer, healthier lives for Americans” goal, saying it “sounds great” but argued that it isn’t what the GOP stands for.
“Already, 158 House Republicans have signed onto Republican budget that will cut Medicare and Social Security,” Biden said.
Biden’s speech on Friday was a part of a flurry of political appearances in the remaining weeks leading up to the midterms. Democrats hope a string of legislative victories and outcry from their base in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade have added momentum to their candidates.
Earlier this week while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Biden attended multiple political fundraisers. Next Tuesday, the President is scheduled to attend a DNC rally in Florida.