Biden touts social spending bill as key to lowering prices
President Biden on Wednesday said his social spending bill will help lower prices after the Labor Department released a report detailing that annual inflation hit a 30-year high.
The president argued that the “human infrastructure” bill would combat inflation because it would bring Americans back to work.
“Going forward, it is important that Congress pass my Build Back Better plan, which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt, and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs—alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans including for most families with children,” Biden said in a statement.
The Labor Department released data on Wednesday that showed consumer prices grew far faster than expected in October. The consumer price index, which tracks inflation for a range of staple goods and services, rose 0.9 percent last month and 6.2 percent in the 12-month period ending in October, which is the highest rate in the U.S. in 30 years.
In the White House statement, Biden said that 17 Nobel Prize winners in economics said his Build Back Better plan will “ease inflationary pressures” and argued it won’t add to the federal debt and will require the wealthiest Americans and big corporations to pay their fair share in taxes.
The social spending package is making its way through Congress and is expected to pass the House next week. But key moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) still have reservations about the legislation.
The jump in the inflation rate is bad news for the president, who is under pressure to combat rising prices in items like food and gas in particular and to fix the supply chain disruptions.
The president is going to the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday. In the statement he said he will highlight how the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the House passed on Friday, will “bring down these costs, reduce these bottlenecks, and make goods more available and less costly.”
“Inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” he said.
Biden said that price increases “reflect the ongoing struggle to restore smooth operations in the economy in the restart” but added that progress continues on recovery, noting an increase in jobs, wages and home values and decreasing unemployment and personal debt.
Biden noted that the largest share of the increase in prices from Wednesday’s report was due to the rising cost of energy and that the price of natural gas has fallen in the last few days.
He directed the National Economic Council to pursue means to try to further reduce high energy costs and asked the Federal Trade Commission to strike back at any market manipulation or price gouging in the energy sector.
He also reemphasized his commitment to the independence of the federal reserve to monitor inflation and do what is necessary to combat it.