"I will not let it happen. Not on my watch," says US President Biden as he accuses his opponents of gimmick to allow "millionaires and billionaires" to avoid paying taxes.
US President Joe Biden has said he will veto any Republican legislation that threatens to sow "chaos" in the country's economy.
"I will not let it happen. Not on my watch. I will veto everything," he said in a speech laying out his economic vision at a Virginia pipe fitters union hall on Thursday.
Biden said congressional Republicans' push to block expansion of the nation's borrowing limit, threatening a US debt default, would spark "chaos" and "pain" for the world's number one economy.
He described another major Republican economic idea –– replacing the income tax with a 30 percent sales tax –– as "almost unbelievable" and a gimmick to allow "millionaires and billionaires" to avoid paying taxes.
"They want to raise your gas prices. They want to cut taxes for billionaires," Biden said. "They want to impose a 30 percent national sales tax," he added.
The House passed a bill to slash the Internal Revenue Service's budget, and some Republicans propose cutting Social Security and Medicare, retirement and healthcare spending programs for senior citizens.
"Do they think this is going to help with inflation," the president said of the tax-cutting proposal. "What in God's name is this all about?"
The speech, which touted Biden's promise of a US manufacturing rebirth, laid out the attack lines of the Democrat's expected 2024 re-election bid.
The president, who at 80 is already the oldest US leader in the nation's history, has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term.
However, a decision is expected soon, and the timing of US economic resurgence from the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns appears to be working in Biden's favour.
READ MORE: US takes 'extraordinary' steps to avoid looming default of government debt
House Republicans are pushing for a 30% national sales tax.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 26, 2023
Taxing the middle-class on thousands of everyday items from groceries to gas. And in the process – cutting taxes for the wealthiest.
What in God’s name is that all about?
'Invest in America Cabinet'
Only a few months ago, Biden looked deeply vulnerable as the highest inflation in four decades ate into Americans' savings and salaries, while economists sounded increasingly pessimistic on the prospects of avoiding a recession.
The latest data on Friday showing GDP growth of 2.1 percent in 2022, with a stronger than expected 2.9 percent surge in October to December, gave ammunition to Biden administration officials who argue that they have instead managed to steer the world's largest economy out of danger.
Likewise, inflation has been slowly but steadily dropping from highs for six straight months.
Polls show Biden remains unpopular — with only a 42 percent average approval rating.
There is lukewarm enthusiasm, even among Democrats, for him to seek a second term, which he would complete at the age of 86.
But with hard-right Republicans holding sway in the House of Representatives and Donald Trump already campaigning to try a comeback in 2024, Biden's calculus is that he will be able to repeat his feat in 2020 when Americans opted for his centrist message.
To underline his economic credentials, Biden announced what the White House is calling an "Invest in America Cabinet" comprising the secretaries of commerce, labour, transportation, treasury, energy, health and the environment.
READ MORE: Biden: Recession 'not inevitable' but Americans are 'really, really down'