Biden pushes for innovation bill to help ‘urgently’ address inflation
President Biden on Thursday acknowledged the urgent need to lower costs for Americans, calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan innovation bill as one way to do so.
Biden, speaking at North Carolina A&T University, noted the Labor Department’s inflation report that came out earlier this week showed prices continued to rise over the last month as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spiked the cost of oil and other goods.
“What people don’t know is that 70 percent of the increase in inflation was a consequence of Putin’s price hike because of the impact on oil prices. 70 percent,” Biden said. “We need to address these high prices, and urgently for working folks out there. And that’s part of why what I’m going to talk to you about today, why it’s so important.”
Biden argued for passage of the Bipartisan Innovation Act, legislation that has yet to make it through Congress but that would provide funding for domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and other materials that would make the U.S. less dependent on foreign supply chains.
“When we build more in America, we increase economic capacity and ultimately it helps lower everyday prices for families,” Biden said, warning that other countries were “closing in fast” by boosting their own manufacturing capacity.
“Congress needs to get this bill to my desk as quickly as possible,” Biden said. “Economic strength is on the line, and national security as well is on the line.”
Inflation has plagued Biden’s presidency during his first year in office, with prices increasing for much of the last six months and undercutting what has been an otherwise strong economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Multiple polls have shown Biden struggling to gain traction with voters on his handling of the economy, with inflation being a key issue. The Labor Department’s consumer price index, which tracks inflation, showed prices have risen 8.5 percent over the past 12 months.
Biden’s focus on the innovation act comes a week after administration officials briefed lawmakers Wednesday on the need to pass the legislation to guard against economic and supply chain vulnerabilities related to semiconductors.