Claiming that President Joe Biden is trying to turn the U.S. into “a socialist country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Wednesday that he aims to prevent the new president from achieving his goals.
“One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” McConnell told reporters at a press conference in Kentucky. “I think the best way to look at what this new administration is: The president may have won the nomination, but Bernie Sanders won the argument about what the new administration should be like.”
McConnell’s comments drew comparisons to his statement in 2010 that the “single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” while underlining doubts that Republicans are interested in working with the White House in a constructive, bipartisan manner.
Asked about McConnell’s comments, Biden said he thinks there’s still room to work with the Republican leader. "Look, he said that in our last administration ... he was going to stop everything – and I was able to get a lot done with him," Biden told reporters in Washington.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also addressed McConnell’s comments, saying that while the Biden administration wants to “work with the Republicans,” the administration is focused on Covid relief and the economy, not political conflict. “I guess the contrast for people to consider is 100 percent of our focus is on delivering relief for the American people,” she said.
Biden says he wants to pay for his plans: After downplaying McConnell’s comments, Biden told reporters that he plans to meet with GOP lawmakers led by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito in the coming days. "I'm going to meet the Republicans next week when they get back in," Biden said, adding that he still thinks there’s room for compromise on his proposals.
Biden made clear that, while he is willing to compromise on the issues like the corporate tax rate, which he wants to increase to 28%, he is focused on passing legislation that will increase growth while not increasing the deficit.
"My Republican friends had no problem in voting to pass a tax proposal that expires in 2025 that cost $2 trillion, none of it paid for, increased the deficit by $2 trillion, gave the overwhelming percentage of those tax breaks to people who didn't need it, the top one tenth of 1%,” Biden said. “And it was argued that what it would do is generate this great economic surge in growth, it would increase productivity, it would pay for itself ... Well, everyone from the Heritage Foundation on has pointed out it hasn't done that. Hasn't done that ...”
Biden emphasized that he wants to pay for his proposals. “I’m not willing to deficit spend,” he said. “They already have us two trillion in the hole. Again, look – everything I'm proposing that be done to generate economic growth, employment, and put us in a position where we can out-compete any other country in the world with research and development, and moving ahead: I pay for it.”