The White House launched a new front in the battle for control of the U.S. Congress on Monday, dispatching Vice President Joe Biden to outline his party’s line of attack on the Republican economic agenda.
In a speech at The George Washington University, Biden condemned the Republicans’ approach to everything from health care spending to education, saying that recently his opponents have abandoned the central bargain of an American Democracy, “opportunity for all.”
“The new Republican Party changed their mind about that bargain,” Biden said. “They adopted an orthodoxy that devalued paychecks. They tilted the tax code in favor of unearned income over earned income, inherited wealth over take home pay.”
Resurrecting some themes from his successful 2012 campaign, Biden focused a big portion of Monday’s speech on the budget put forward by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and its effect on income inequality, telling the crowd of roughly 300, “this is not your father’s Republican Party.”
“If I were you, I’d sit there and say, ‘Well this just seems like another political speech, another political fight in Washington, battling over the budget again, the next standoff or the next election, red meat to stir up the troops.’ It’s not,” Biden said to a room made up mostly of college students.
“Don’t give in to the cynicism here. Don’t fall in the trap that none of this really matters or there isn’t much of a difference we can make.”
Just as he did while serving as the chief attack dog for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, Biden painted a portrait of the Republican Party as one that is focused on shifting wealth towards those at the very top.
“This massive shift is being largely – not totally – largely driven by this incredibly narrow mindset that presumes that wealthy investors are the sole drivers of the economy, that all employees work solely by the grace of the shareholder’s capital gain,” Biden said, explaining “that’s what today’s Republican Party is all about.”
Republicans were quick to fire back, releasing statements before the Vice President left the room calling his remarks “desperate” and an effort to distract from paltry support for the President’s budget.
“Rather than throwing rocks from the sidelines, President Obama and Vice President Biden should work with Republicans in producing a budget that will lower taxes, restrain spending and create good-paying jobs,” read a statement released by Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
The group responsible for electing Republicans to the House of Representatives also pushed back against the Vice President’s fiery rhetoric, pointing out that the White House’s budget “leaves Obamacare in place, raises taxes, and never, ever balances.”
“This November, voters will see a clear contrast between Republicans who want to replace Obamacare with a patient-centered approach and Democrats who continue to defend this train wreck of a law,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman said in a statement.