White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed Friday that Republicans had put forth proposals that would cause more children to develop asthma and “literally melt bones.”
Jean-Pierre’s remarks, which she punctuated with a slide show during Friday’s press briefing, came in response to the ongoing battle over the debt ceiling. President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have called for a “clean” debt ceiling increase, while House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) countered with an increase tied to some spending cuts and policy changes.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says House Republicans wants "to fill our cities with smog," "give asthma to" kids, "poison…children," & allow "oil co,mpanies to use toxic chemicals that cause severe burns, damage people's eyes, and quite literally melt bones." pic.twitter.com/Zjux2GR1qh
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 21, 2023
“The president’s bold climate and environmental justice agenda could not stand in starker contrast to the dangerous proposals MAGA House Republicans are putting forward,” Jean-Pierre began, and then drew everyone’s attention to the slide displayed on the screen behind her.
“While President Biden is fighting to clean up toxic pollution and lower costs through clean energy tax credit, Speaker McCarthy unveiled a ransom note holding our economy hostage,” Jean-Pierre asserted. “It’s a 320-page plan to kill jobs, fill our cities with smog, and give asthma to our children.”
Jean-Pierre went on to say that McCarthy’s conditions included the rollback of climate initiatives that had been added to the Inflation Reduction Act, and she warned that the consequences of abandoning those policies would create a situation that was even more dire.
“It would make it easier for oil companies to use toxic chemicals that cause severe burns, damage people’s eyes, and quite literally melt bones,” she added, pausing there for added emphasis.
She predicted that cities would once again “fill with heavy smog” as the Clean Air Act was weakened, adding that it would “dirty our air and poison the lungs of our children.”
Jean-Pierre concluded by saying that Biden would never stand for such proposals, claiming again that they would necessarily bring about a “climate and health disaster.”
The press secretary’s remarks come as several House Democrats have urged President Biden to at least meet with Speaker McCarthy, worrying that the American people will see his failure to do so as a failure to do whatever is needed to prevent default in the near term.
McCarthy’s proposal, if the conditions are met, would increase the debt ceiling and postpone the debate on further adjustments for at least a year. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said the Republican counter-offer would be dead-on-arrival in the Senate.