Former Vice President Joe Biden fires back at Republican complaint about his wealth

Former Vice President Joe Biden had fresh to make a fresh rebuff to Republican criticism about his wealth on Wednesday, joking about a federal “Mad Hatter rule” in response to Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) assertion that he’s rich.

“Being rich is not a prerequisite to running for president, nor has it ever been. Being a senator or a U.S. Senator is a prerequisite to running for president,” Barrasso said on Tuesday during a Senate hearing on proposed budget cuts.

“Now are you calling my wealth an impediment, Senator?” Biden said. “If it’s an impediment, John, let me be happy to hand over the steering wheel. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s none of your business.”

In a separate hearing, the Senate Finance Committee approved Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) proposal to eliminate the tax deduction for state and local tax payments. Democrats on the committee pushed back against that measure, citing similar cuts to the mortgage interest deduction and “missing middle-class families” that are also hit by these provisions.

Barrasso — who said that he himself would reduce taxes on the middle class — told CNN that he didn’t have any animus toward Biden and he took Biden’s comments lightly.

“I didn’t take that [statement] seriously,” Barrasso said. “I think the problem with that is the fact that he is the vice president of the United States. He should know better.”

Asked if the “Mad Hatter rule” was a separate proposal from the Republican plan to eliminate the mortgage deduction, Barrasso said he wasn’t sure if it was.

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