Obama accuses Republicans of 'bait-and-switch' on deficit, urges 'bold government steps' from Biden

He specifically called out the cost of Republican-backed tax cuts.

Former President Obama argued on Wednesday that Republicans would hypocritically warn about the fiscal impact of economic recovery proposals after passing deficit-inducing tax cuts under President Trump.

"The recovery is going to require government to step in even more than it already has and you can already hear Republicans trying to run the same game they ran when I was president, where suddenly once the Democrats are in office they start worrying about deficits and why are we spending money providing poor folks and small-businesses relief when they were happy to spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts, or eliminating taxes for big corporations?" he told activist Al Sharpton on his radio show.

He continued, "And that kind of bait-and-switch, I think, is something that Joe Biden's going to confront and I want voters to be paying attention when that happens because the truth is is that we are going to need the kind of bold government steps and relief and programs that can help lift folks up from the bottom, not just help folks at the top."

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His comments came as President-elect Biden's team urged Congress to address the financial fallout of the coroanvirus pandemic. Many of his economic advisers also served in Obama's administration.

While it's unclear how much Biden's stimulus would cost, Congress and the White House has already passed a $2 trillion relief package -- the largest in U.S. history. Obama's inauguration in 2009 came as the nation reeled from a housing crisis that prompted him to pass an $831 billion economic stimulus package. By contrast, Trump's Tax Cut and Jobs Act has been estimated to cost between $1-2 trillion.

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Both parties in Congress have struggled to reach a compromise on a second wave of relief, with Democrats pushing a $2.2 trillion relief bill and Republicans seeking significantly less at $500 billion. 

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shot down a bipartisan, $908 billion measure that Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., one of its crafters, reportedly described as an "interim package" until Biden takes office.