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March 09, 2023

President Biden to deliver budget address at Northeast Philly union hall

The proposal will be unveiled at the Finishing Trades Institute at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday

President Joe Biden will unveil his 2024 budget proposal at the Finishing Trades Institute in Northeast Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, outlining his plans to reduce the federal deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade and strengthen Medicare by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Biden is set to begin his address at 2:30 p.m. inside the union hall, a training center for commercial painters, display workers, drywall finishers and glassworkers. Budget proposals are typically delivered at the White House, though the president has made Philadelphia a frequent stop throughout his presidency, including last fall, when he delivered a speech on extremism from Independence Hall.

Biden's upcoming budget proposal includes plans to reduce the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years, a loftier goal than the $2 trillion reduction proposed in his State of the Union address in February. The plan largely hinges on raising taxes on wealthy Americans and cutting tax loopholes for corporations. Biden is set to propose a 25% tax on American households worth more than $100 million — a jump from his 20% tax proposal last year, the New York Times reported. 

The plan would also cut tax breaks for oil and gas companies and real estate investors, and would end tax breaks frequently used by wealthy Americans, like the carried interest tax break, according to NPR. The plan would further reverse the 2017 tax cuts implemented by President Donald Trump on incomes over $400,000 per year.

"The President does not believe in trickle-down economics," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday. "This (budget) is something that shows the American people that we take this very seriously when we think about the fiscal responsibility, when we think about how do we move forward not just for Americans today but for Americans — other generations that are going to be coming behind us." 

Biden's proposal would extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 25 years by increasing the Medicare tax rate on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year by 5%, up from the 3.5% that is currently imposed. The plan would also allow Medicare to negotiate prices on prescription drugs as they enter the market. 

The budget aims to lower mental and behavioral health costs through Medicare, capping cost-sharing on drugs for chronic conditions at $2 and lowering prices for high-cost drugs, according to a preview released by the White House on Tuesday. 

The budget is part of a larger effort by the Biden administration to respond to House Republicans, who have sought massive cuts to federal spending as part of a bargaining agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The country hit its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling in January, and since then, the U.S. Treasury Department has undertaken "extraordinary measures" to continue paying its debts on time, but the effort will only last through about June 5, CNN reported. 

Republicans have not yet released a counter plan for tackling the debt ceiling, and seemingly agreed not to cut Medicare and Social Security spending in a viral exchange during Biden's State of the Union address. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told the Associated Press that his plan would be released after the budget address. 

The president's budget is unlikely to pass the Senate or Republican-led House of Representatives in its current form, as Republicans have criticized its tax increases without cuts to federal spending, PBS NewsHour reported. 

Republicans are planning to release their own budget in April, which includes plans to cut $150 billion from a variety of non-defense programs, including foreign aid, food assistance and health care for poor Americans.

Biden's decision to propose his 2024 budget at the Finishing Trades Institute rather than the White House appears to signal that he's readying his official reelection campaign announcement, the Washington Post argued. While the president has said that he intends to run in 2024, making the trip to a major battleground state sets the stage for his potential candidacy. 

There have been no road closures scheduled for Biden's trip to Philadelphia. The White House told 6ABC that the president will fly from Joint Base Andrews to Philadelphia International Airport around noon before heading to the Northeast Philadelphia Airport and making the 10-minute trip to the union hall. 

The full budget address, which will begin around 2:30 p.m. at the Finishing Trades Institute, can be streamed live at the link below.