President Joe Biden sought to assuage concerns about spiraling prices that threaten the US economic recovery on Monday, saying the current inflation rise is “temporary” and not a long-term issue.
He also stated that one of the best ways to keep the American economy on track would be for Congress to approve additional federal spending in the form of a major bipartisan infrastructure package, which has a deadline this week in the US Senate.
The president argued that his administration’s vaccination push and broad domestic agenda, which includes trillions of dollars in economic stimulus, will “take the pressure off of inflation” rather than increase it.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, the global supply chain has struggled to get back up to speed, resulting in price increases on many products.
“Some have expressed concern that this could be a sign of persistent inflation,” Biden said in a White House speech.
“Our experts believe, and the data supports this, that the majority of the price increases we’ve seen were expected and will be temporary.” Biden’s attempt at reassurance came as US stocks fell 2.1 percent on Monday, owing to resurgent Covid-19 fears and concerns about inflation crimping global growth.
Despite Republican critics’ “predictions of doom and gloom” six months into his administration, Biden stressed that the overall state of the economy is healthy.
Meanwhile, Biden urged Congress to act on his multi-trillion-dollar plan to reshape government intervention in American society through the largest federal investments in a generation. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer launched a hardball effort to move forward with the first component of Biden’s plan, a historic bipartisan infrastructure package to repair and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and broadband internet.
Schumer initiated the process that will result in a test vote on Wednesday, despite the fact that the infrastructure agreement, which is being negotiated by 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans and includes $579 billion in new spending, is in jeopardy.
Legislative language has yet to be finalized, as Republicans balked at a key revenue source under consideration: empowering the government to pursue tax evaders more aggressively. Schumer emphasized that the first step, a procedural maneuver known as a cloture vote, is just an opening gambit and that the bill can be finalized later.
“On Wednesday, the motion to proceed is simply about getting the legislative process started here on the Senate floor,” Schumer explained to colleagues.
“There is no deadline for determining every last detail of the bill.”
Biden had previously expressed support for the move, saying that “we should be united” in passing the bipartisan infrastructure framework that lawmakers and the White House had agreed to in broad strokes after weeks of wrangling. However, given that the deal is still in flux, some Republicans are irritated by the need for speed.
Biden’s domestic agenda includes infrastructure. He also supports Democrats’ goal of passing a $3.5 trillion budget framework.
The massive plan, which includes once-in-a-generation investments in health, education, climate initiatives, and social welfare expansion, would take advantage of a fast-track process known as reconciliation, which allows budget-related legislation to pass with a simple majority.
With Republicans united in opposition to the broader budget bill, every Senate Democrat would have to support the package, which is far from certain in a caucus that includes both progressives and moderates. “Simply put, we can’t afford not to make these investments,” Biden said of his broad set of initiatives outlined in the $3.5 trillion framework.
Republicans warn that such spending will fuel inflation even more.
“Another multi-trillion-dollar reckless taxing and spending spree is the last thing American families need,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.