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White House: Conservative Freedom Caucus proposal would kill jobs, undo clean energy investments

The White House on Tuesday took aim at a budget proposal released by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, arguing that Republicans who support the plan would be killing jobs and undoing investments in clean energy.

In a memo distributed to reporters, deputy press secretary Andrew Bates argued Republicans “face a critical choice” on whether to back the Freedom Caucus proposal, which comes amid a looming standoff over raising the debt ceiling.

“Killing newly-created American manufacturing jobs just so the super wealthy and big corporations can enjoy tax welfare would be a gut-punch to America’s competitiveness and to thousands of working families in red states. And it would be a windfall for China,” Bates wrote.

The Freedom Caucus, made up of dozens of hard-line conservative members and led by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), last week unveiled its demands for raising the debt ceiling. The proposal calls for rescinding unspent COVID-19 funds, cutting climate change funding and money for increased IRS enforcement from the Inflation Reduction Act, among other measures.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law last year, included a number of key Democratic priorities to invest in clean energy and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Bates argued on Tuesday that repealing parts of the legislation “would kill tens of thousands of jobs and send them overseas, as well as raise [Americans’] energy costs — all to provide a tax giveaway to rich special interests.”

He also noted that multiple news outlets have reported that jobs created by the bill’s investments have been in Republican-led states like Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

“This brings pressing questions for House Republican leadership and Members across the board: Will the rest of the House Republican Conference stand up against the Freedom Caucus threat to thousands of manufacturing jobs?” Bates wrote. “Will they stand against increasing Americans’ energy bills?”

The Freedom Caucus proposal is unlikely to become the widely held position among the Republican conference, but House GOP leaders have yet to release a budget plan of their own. 

President Biden last week released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 and called on House Republicans to do the same, arguing it would reveal what the GOP is prioritizing ahead of a fight over raising the debt ceiling, including whether the party is for changes to Social Security and Medicare. 

Congress must vote to lift the debt ceiling by roughly June or risk a default that could tank the economy. The White House has been adamant it is not negotiating any spending cuts to government programs as part of those talks, while Republicans have said spending cuts should be on the table.

Source: The Hill

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