Biden: US economy has ‘problems,’ but recession not inevitable

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Palace
Evan Vucci/Associated Press
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Palace.

President Biden on Monday acknowledged the United States is facing economic headwinds with high gasoline and food prices, but he rejected the idea that a recession is inevitable.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Biden rattled off a series of investments that have spurred job growth, including a new Samsung factory in Texas, a new Hyundai operation in Georgia and Toyota’s commitment in North Carolina.

“Now, does that mean we don’t have problems?” Biden asked. “We do. We have problems that the rest of the world has, but less consequential than the rest of the world has because of our internal growth and strength.”

Biden pointed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine upending global oil markets and the strain it has put on European nations more reliant on Russian energy.

“It’s affecting a lot of families,” Biden said. He pointed to his decision to release millions of barrels of oil from reserves to boost supply, but conceded it has not been enough to lower prices, which have hit records in recent days.

Biden also blamed the Russian invasion for food shortages, as millions of bushels of grain have been held up in Ukraine.

“This is going to be a haul. This is going to take some time,” Biden said.

But when asked if a recession for the U.S. economy is inevitable, Biden responded, “No.”

The president said he would continue to work with Middle Eastern nations to boost oil supply, and he said he would continue to pursue policies that spur growth domestically. Biden further argued that passing his domestic agenda to lower child care and family care costs would lower inflation, but that legislation has stalled in the Senate, where moderate Democrats are reluctant to approve more spending.

Biden has faced tremendous pressure from voters to tamp down inflation, even as the president and White House aides point to low unemployment, strong gross domestic product growth and other underlying factors that show the economy is strong.

Polls have shown voters do not approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, and plunges in the stock market in recent days have only fueled concerns about a looming downturn.

Brian Deese, the head of the National Economic Council and Biden’s top economic adviser, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a recession entirely during an interview on Sunday morning.

“Well, there are always risks, but here’s where I think we are,” Deese said on CNN. “Our economy is in a transition from what has been the strongest recovery in modern American history to what can be a period of more stable and resilient growth that works better for families.”

Tags Joe Biden

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