Biden: Inflation ‘steals’ profits from a strong economy

(The Hill) – President Biden has urged lawmakers to pass his stalled economic agenda to prevent inflation from “robbing” Americans of the benefits of a rapid economic recovery.

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president sought to rally momentum behind more than $1 trillion in proposed investments that he said would help calm the highest rate of inflation. fast in 40 years.

Biden touted the rapid rebound from the depth of the pandemic-induced recession, including a record gain of 6.5 million jobs in 2021, economic growth of 5.7%, faster wage growth and l passage of a bipartisan bill on infrastructure. The president also highlighted a series of investments in domestic manufacturing by major US companies such as Intel and Ford, as well as his efforts to strengthen US supply chains.

Even so, Biden acknowledged that “too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills” after prices rose 7.5% over the past 12 months, according to the Home Price Index. consumption (CPI) from the Ministry of Labour.

“Inflation is robbing them of the gains they thought they could otherwise feel,” Biden said, attributing the rapid price hike to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and successive waves of COVID. -19.

” We have the choice. One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer,” he continued. “I think I have a better plan to fight inflation. Cut your costs, not your salaries.

Biden and Democratic leaders have argued for months that the president’s “Build Back Better” plan — the $1.75 trillion social services, infrastructure and climate bill at the center of his economic agenda — would help reduce the costs through programs targeting prescription drug prices, childcare affordability, lower taxes for low- and middle-income families, and affordable housing.

But Biden’s plan was frozen after Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) announced in December that he would not support the measure due to concerns about rising inflation. The bill needs the unanimous support of all 50 Democratic senators and a decisive vote from Vice President Harris to push the Senate through budget reconciliation, which cannot be blocked by the Republican minority in the Senate.

GOP senators also criticized Biden and Democratic lawmakers for seeking another trillion-plus spending bill after passing the $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout economic stimulus bill according to party lines in March 2021. Many economists said the bill helped accelerate the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 recession, but at the cost of higher inflation for longer than most analysts had predicted.

The price hike has also weighed heavily on Biden’s approval ratings and voters’ opinions of his handling of the economy. Republican lawmakers have also seized on rising food, energy and housing prices on Biden’s economic agenda as they seek to regain control of the House and Senate.

Biden also urged senators to confirm five of his Federal Reserve Board nominees, who have been blocked by Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee. Each of the banking panel’s 12 GOP members blocked a vote last month to advance Biden’s Fed picks — including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, a Republican — after Democrats refused to delay the vote. action on a particularly controversial candidate.

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