Biden targets GOP on inflation with skyrocketing prices
President Biden is preparing for a keynote speech on Tuesday to tackle inflation, and will compare his plans to cut costs for American families with those offered by Republicans in Congress, an administration official told Axios.
why does it matter: For a president who once insisted that inflation is “temporary,” Biden now talks about rising prices at almost every opportunity. The focus comes as Americans are stinging under gas that exceeds $6 per gallon in some states, and the price of groceries increases with each visit to the store.
- At the White House on Tuesday, Biden will focus on GOP plans, such as those of Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla), which Democrats say will raise taxes on about 75 million Americans, and could end entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
- Despite the economy creating 428,000 new jobs last month, officials know that inflation is eroding Americans’ purchasing power — and could crush Democrats at the polls in the midterm elections.
- Axios reports that Biden administration officials are discussing whether to cut some of the tariffs that former President Trump imposed on China as one step toward slowing inflation.
- Throughout April, Biden hit price hikes in a speech he gave nearly every week. He did so again last week during a visit to Ohio, a key electoral state in the Rust Belt.
News leadership: The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the Consumer Price Index for April at 8:30 am on Wednesday.
It has become one of the most eagerly anticipated stats in Washington.
- Economists estimate that the monthly headline rate will be 0.2%, which means annual inflation will be 8.1%, according to FactSet.
- That could be down from the 8.5% annual rate in March, which was the highest annual reading since 1981, and inflation could signal an ebb.
- Last week, the Federal Reserve enacted the largest interest rate increase in more than 20 years as a move to help lower inflation.
recovery: At the end of 2021, with the annual CPI at 6.8%, Biden claimed that inflation was at its “peak.”
- Then the war in Ukraine helped drive up energy prices.
The Big Picture: Biden is now trying to convince the American public that he has a plan to cut costs, even as some of his top economic advisers say the Fed has the most powerful tools in place to bring down inflation.
- In late March, the president made price hikes a centerpiece of his fiscal year 23 budget, and used his spending scheme to promote deficit reduction and plans to cut costs for consumers.
- On March 31, it tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for an unprecedented release to help lower gas prices.
- In Iowa last month, it announced the expansion of summer access to E15, a cheaper gasoline containing 15% ethanol, for the same reasons.
- On Earth Day in Auburn, Washington, he highlighted his plans to cut prescription drug costs.
the other sideRepublicans continue to hit Biden on inflation and are convinced that voters are on their side.
Public opinion polls indicate that they are right.
- An ABC News poll on May 1 showed that 50% of respondents trust Republicans to keep it under control, while only 31% support Democrats’ efforts.
- Scott, who is also chairman of the Republican Senate National Committee, says he has no plans to raise taxes on American workers or retirees, and that benefit programs are not in danger of being laid off.
- “American families are struggling to cope with high inflation and rising prices, while @Joe Biden Nothing to help,” Tweeted last week.
deepen: Last fall, Biden worked with private companies and consortia to keep the Port of Los Angeles running 24/7.
- The goal was to reduce the backlog of freighters to prevent holiday gifts from being delayed.
- And when those delays didn’t materialize, White House press secretary Jen Psaki joked on Biden, “Save Christmas.”