President Biden called on lawmakers to pass his stalled economic agenda in order to protect Americans from inflation that might otherwise undermine a rapid economic recovery.
The president wanted to rally the nation behind more than $1 trillion in proposed investments, which he said would bring inflation down to its lowest level in 40 years.
According to The Hill, Biden highlighted the swift recovery from the pandemic-driven recession, including the record-breaking job creation of 6.5 million jobs in 2021, the 5.7 percent growth in the economy, and the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill. As part of his efforts to boost American supply lines, the president also announced large investments in domestic manufacturing by major U.S. companies such as Intel and Ford.
Nevertheless, Biden acknowledged that too many families are struggling to pay their bills after the consumer price index for the Labor Department showed 7.5 percent rise over the 12 months.
“Inflation is robbing them of the gains they thought otherwise they would be able to feel,” Biden said, pinning the rapid rise in prices on supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and successive waves of COVID-19.
“We have a choice. One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer,” he said.
“I think I have a better plan to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages.”
In recent months, Biden and Democratic leaders have said that the president’s Build Back Better plan reduces prices through programs that target child care costs, prescription drug prices, and taxes for low- and middle-income families.
As a result of rising inflation concerns, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has not supported Biden’s plan. For budget reconciliation to pass the Senate, all 50 Democratic senators must support the bill, and Vice President Harris must break the tie.
Additionally, some Republican senators have criticized Biden and Democrats for attempting to ram through yet another trillion-dollar-plus bill following the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan economic stimulus package along party lines in March 2021. In the midst of the COVID-19 recession, many economists believe the bill has accelerated the pace of recovery. However, it has also led to higher inflation over time than many expected.
Meanwhile, rising prices have made it difficult for Biden to maintain his approval rating and voters’ confidence in his handling of the economy. Attempts by Republicans to retake control of the House and Senate have also been motivated by rising prices for food, energy and shelter.
He also called for the confirmation of five nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, who have been blocked by Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee. A vote to advance Biden’s Fed picks was blocked by each of the 12 GOP members of the Banking panel after Democrats refused to delay the decision on one controversial nominee.