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Biden touts plan to raise taxes on the rich, but it’s unclear he has support in the House

He called upon billionaires to pay more during an event held in Virginia

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President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, after returning from a trip to Virginia Beach, Va., to talk about health care.

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, after returning from a trip to Virginia Beach, Va., to talk about health care.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

President Joe Biden on Tuesday continued to try to gain support for his budget plan, which includes tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans, who control the House, are unlikely to endorse his plan to raise taxes.

“I want to make it clear — I’m going to raise some taxes,” he said at an event in Virginia Beach, Virginia. But Biden’s latest budget proposal to the U.S. Congress will not target Americans making less than $400,000.

“On March the 9th, I’m going to lay down in detail every single thing, every tax that’s out there that I’m proposing, and no one ... making less than $400,000 is going to pay a penny more in taxes,” he explained.

Recently, at the State of the Union address, Biden proposed raising taxes on the wealthy. “No billionaire should be paying a lower rate than a school teacher or a firefighter,” he said in his speech, as reported by the Deseret News.

The president’s remarks about raising taxes went viral, after an account managed by the Republican National Committee shared a clip of only the first part of the statement, implying that taxes will increase for everyone, including middle-class Americans, as Forbes reported.

The U.S. is currently home to an estimated 735 billionaires. A ProPublica report from last year showed that billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Icahn have managed to pay no income tax during certain years, although they do pay other state and local taxes.

“The impulse to impose more tax on billionaires is clearly gaining momentum and debates about how best to do it are intensifying,” as Sarah Kessler of The New York Times wrote in the DealBook newsletter in 2021.

While Biden continues to promise tax increases, he would need Republicans in the House to go along with his plan. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would like the federal government to focus on cutting spending, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The president also promised to cut the national debt by $2 trillion over the next decade. The event on Tuesday centered around Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, two government health insurance programs, which Biden said the Republican Party would cut, although McCarthy has said cuts to Medicaid and Social Security are off the table.

“What are they going to cut? That’s the big question,” Biden said, per PBS News. “For millions of Americans, health care hangs in the balance.”

Republicans continue to deny any such plans. After the State of the Union address, Rep. Jen Kiggans, the Republican congresswoman from Virginia Beach, refuted the claim again.

“The president has shown that his talk of bipartisanship is simply political theatre,” said Kiggans, according to The Washington Post. “Health care should never be used as a partisan publicity stunt.”