Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a Republican, slammed President Joe Biden’s inflation management on Wednesday, blasting the administration’s handling of the economy and inflation as Americans face the steepest price increases in decades.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Romney wrote, “President Biden needs to ditch his woke advisers and surround himself with people who want to get the economy working again.” To address the rising debt, he suggested looking into possible benefit cuts in safety net programs.
He blamed the Biden administration for inflating the economy by passing a stimulus bill that gave Americans “stay-at-home” checks, as well as policies like oil and gas production limits and a pro-union stance. Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, is a fiscal and foreign policy conservative. In his op-ed, the Utah Republican argues that Congress should create a bipartisan commission to “save our federal entitlement programs from impending collapse.”
Last month, Romney hinted that, in order to reduce the national debt, he would support cutting retirement benefits for younger Americans — without elaborating.
In recent years, he has taken a more centrist stance in other areas, particularly in his opposition to former President Donald Trump. Romney made history as the first senator to vote to convict a president of his own party facing impeachment. He was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden’s family, and he was one of seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump for inciting the Capitol insurgency on January 6, 2017.
Romney was one of only three Republicans to vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court since Biden took office, one of 17 Republicans to support Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and one of six Republicans to support an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attacks.
“I mean it sincerely,” Biden said outside the White House on April 8, “but I want to thank three Republicans who voted for Judge Jackson. And Mitt Romney, whose dad stood up like he did. His dad stood up and made these decisions on civil rights.”
Romney’s attempt to sway Biden’s economic policy positions highlights a growing Republican talking point. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, recently stated that if the Republicans retake the Senate, they will “ensure Joe Biden is a moderate.”
These remarks, however, overlook the fact that Biden won the 2020 election on one of the most progressive policy platforms in history. Biden and his allies were fairly explicit at times about how liberal the deal-making former vice president would be if he won the White House, which was far from a bait and switch.
Romney’s attacks show how Republicans want to use historic inflation to attack Democrats ahead of the midterm elections in November. In March, the Consumer Price Index, a closely watched inflation indicator, increased by 8.5 percent year over year, the largest one-year increase in 40 years.
Republican lawmakers have mentioned inflation six times more than Democrats since January 1, according to Axios.
“The first three rules of any crisis situation are focus, focus, and focus,” Romney writes. “Inflation must be President Biden’s domestic focus.”