In a memo circulated by the White House on Monday, the Biden administration accused Republicans of promoting weak economic policies and an “extreme” political agenda. This accusation prompted a swift response from GOP members on Capitol Hill. Raj Shah, House Speaker Mike Johnson’s deputy chief of staff for communications, criticized the administration’s policies, citing the crisis at the Southern border, a massive spike in inflation, and a weak foreign policy.
Shah highlighted the administration’s failure to address the crisis at the southern border, which he argued was a direct result of their policies. He also pointed out the significant increase in inflation, which has placed an additional financial burden on American families. Furthermore, Shah criticized the administration’s weak foreign policy, claiming that it has emboldened America’s enemies.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 18, 2023
On the other hand, Ben LaBolt, the Biden administration’s communications director, celebrated the administration’s achievements in delivering progress for hardworking Americans in 2023. The four-page memo detailed efforts to raise wages, eliminate “junk fees,” reduce unemployment, lower prescription drug and energy costs, and pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which was hailed as the largest investment in climate action ever.
LaBolt also criticized congressional Republicans for their lack of a plan to lower costs for families, accusing them of prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. According to LaBolt, Republicans aim to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and hinder progress in clean energy, while also seeking to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The memo comes in the midst of negotiations between Senate Republicans and the White House over a $106 billion supplemental national security package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and US border enforcement. GOP senators have tied the package to asylum policy reforms following the influx of over 2.47 million migrants in 2023. Meanwhile, House Republicans have begun their holiday recess after receiving assurances from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding military assistance.
Despite the memo’s emphasis on economic progress, the White House made no mention of immigration issues. The Biden administration’s talking points before Thanksgiving highlighted a reduction in gas and travel expenses, grocery prices, and other costs for consumers. However, critics argue that real wages, adjusted for inflation, have actually decreased since Biden assumed office.
Republicans and conservative commentators have seized on these concerns, attributing the rise in prices and decrease in real wages to Biden’s economic policies. Senate GOP Conference Chairman John Barrasso labeled Bidenomics as responsible for increasing prices and the president’s plummeting approval rating. Meanwhile, Senator Mike Lee criticized the administration’s prioritization of foreign aid over addressing domestic issues.
Indeed, Biden’s approval rating hit a new low in a recent Monmouth University survey, with only 34% of respondents approving of his job performance. Vice President Kamala Harris also faced disapproval, with a slightly higher 37% approval rating. These figures underscore the challenges the Biden administration faces heading into an election year.