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Biden Wants His Record Out There as 2024 Approaches

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No presidential declaration from Biden in House Dem pep talk as he challenged McCarthy, ostracized ‘MAGA Republicans’

As Democrats quietly speculate about the upcoming presidential race, President Joe Biden on March 1 stressed unity and his party’s legislative record during the past Congress–but he didn’t come closer to stating his intentions for 2024.

“If we did nothing–nothing–but implement what we’ve already passed, and let the people know who did it for them, we win–but we’re way beyond that, it’s not just about winning,” Biden told the crowd.

Biden challenged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to lay out his budget plan when Biden does the same on March 9, upping the ante as Democrats and Republicans remain divided over the debt ceiling.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. President Joe Biden sits next to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 2, 2023. The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly bipartisan event that brings together religious leaders and politicians for a morning of prayer and reflection. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The commander-in-chief spoke at a Baltimore, Maryland, retreat for House Democrats, who are now narrowly outnumbered by Republicans in the chamber after the 2022 midterms.

Biden was introduced by Maryland’s new governor, Wes Moore.

In his introductory remarks, Moore praised “the Biden economy” while sounding off about “the extreme nature of the opposition”–in other words, Republicans.

He also made the case for the president’s record over the preceding two years.

“Together, we put shots in arms, money in pockets, and kids back in school,” Moore said.

Biden on Biden

A Washington insider for half a century since entering the Senate in 1973, Biden began by rallying his troops. He praised what he described as unity among Democrats over his presidency.

Biden said “the economy was in ruins” when he entered the White House, less than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also appeared to assert that job losses actually preceded the pandemic–a claim not obviously reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures from late 2019 and the first two months of 2020.

Indeed, job growth in January 2020 was the highest in that month since 2012, while job growth in February 2020 was above the median for that month over that period.

“Inflation has fallen seven straight months,” Biden said.

The 12-month inflation rate ending in January 2023 is 6.4 percent, down from a peak of 9.1 percent in June 2022.

Before inflation accelerated in 2021, shortly after the president took office, it was last at 6.4 percent in July 1982.

The president said that his and Congressional Democrats’ legislation reflected part of their effort to tackle the problem.

“There’s more than one way to deal with family inflation, and that’s to deal with the things that fundamentally affect their everyday cost, beyond the traditional measures of inflation,” he said.

Biden later added that $369 billion in climate change-related spending in the Schumer-Manchin bill would ‘literally save the planet.”

“We passed the American Rescue Plan, which bailed out a whole hell of a lot of Republican governors–they still don’t even want to acknowledge it,” Biden claimed.

The president noted that John Podesta and former Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu were overseeing spending in the Schumer-Manchin bill and the infrastructure bill.

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaks to members of the media outside Clinton's home in Washington on Oct. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaks to reporters outside Clinton’s home in Washington on Oct. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Both of them are pretty damn good,” he said.

Biden also spoke of new high-tech domestic manufacturing following passage of the Chips and Science Act in 2022.

He mentioned new semiconductor production facilities being built by Intel in Ohio amid rising tension between the West and China over Taiwan.

The 3,000 manufacturing jobs at those fabs will reportedly pay an average of $135,000.

He echoed pro-union comments he made in a speech in an electricians’ union hall on Feb. 15.

Seeking Support from Non-MAGA Republicans

Biden laid out a future legislative agenda for Democrats, while suggesting future allies could come from among Republicans who oppose former President Donald Trump.

“We need to come together on police reform and immigration reform. We need to protect voting rights and the right to choose. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve gotta reinstate Roe v. Wade and then pass it nationally,” he said.

“I know as well as you the MAGA Republicans are not going to get on board with most of these things. But that leaves a lot of Republicans that are still left.”

“A little bit more of Marjorie Taylor Greene and a few more, you’re going to have a lot of Republicans running our way,” he added to laughter from House Democrats.

President Biden Delivers State Of The Union Address
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) gives a thumbs down during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Feb. 7, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Republicans, he went on to say, are “not the party that cares about fiscal responsibility.”

He also drew attention to the presence of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was apparently in the crowd.

“Nancy has incredible, incredible power here in the east, particularly in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore,” Biden said.

He also frequently alluded to backstage conversations with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who served as House Majority Leader with Pelosi.

Biden will join a lunch with Senate Democrats on March 2, as reported by The Hill.

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