President Joe Biden will outline a strategy Tuesday to tackle rising inflation and get the federal deficit under control. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled a plan Tuesday that makes clear the problem of rising inflation and lays out steps to control rising energy prices in the United States, as well as lower the federal deficit.
The White House said the plan leans heavily on controlling the rising cost of energy — which has been the primary driver of inflation over the past year — by reducing foreign dependence.
Gas prices and inflation are on the rise nationwide. AAA said on Monday that prices have returned to the high levels that were seen in March — well above $4 per gallon — and they’re only expected to get higher with Memorial Day and the summer driving season approaching.
In fact, the national average leaped by five cents from Monday to Tuesday — from $4.32 to $4.37. That’s an increase of 17 cents over the past week and 26 cents over the past month.
“President Biden has a plan to tackle inflation — by lowering costs that families face and lowering the federal deficit by asking the large corporations and the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.
“Inflation is too high and is putting a strain on working families.”
Biden will outline the plan in more detail in an 11:30 a.m. EDT speech at the White House.
The White House noted three main steps to lowering energy costs and foreign dependence — curbing the effect of the war in Ukraine, lowering energy bills and moving toward “real” energy independence by transitioning away from fossil fuels like gasoline.
Some of the actions laid out Tuesday have been taken — such as releasing 180 million barrels of oil from the strategic U.S. reserve and allowing the sale of E15 gasoline in the summer months.
“Advancing the strongest ever fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to enable drivers to go farther on every gallon, while increasing options for families to make the switch to electric cars … [will] set America on course to ensure one of every two cars sold in 2030 burns no fossil fuels,” the White House said.
Biden is also calling on Congress to pass clean energy and vehicle tax credits to cut dependence on “reckless autocrats” like Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of refugees in the former Soviet republic.
Biden said the credits would save families hundreds a year on utility bills and accelerate domestic clean energy innovations.
The president said the energy actions laid out in the plan address short-, medium- and long-term approaches to lowering costs and the deficit.
Analysts have said that various factors are impacting gas prices — such as the disruption caused by the war in Ukraine and demand in the United States, which will increase in the summer months. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Biden also outlined five points in the strategy to improve “other everyday costs” for American families — lowering drug and health costs, lowering food prices, repairing infrastructure and supply chains, bringing down the cost of child care and lowering housing costs.
Those efforts include fixing the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, investing in American farmers to provide more food, saving families thousands on child care and constructing more homes to bring down the costs of living.
In Tuesday’s outline, Biden takes aim at congressional Republicans — saying that they have been silent on some things and have proposed actions on others that would burden the middle class. Rising inflation is seen as the primary issue threatening Democrats in the midterm elections in November.
“Republicans, led by Sen. Rick Scott, have called for a new minimum tax on the middle class,” the White House said. “That would mean an average of almost $1,500 less in families’ pockets each year.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden suspended a federal rule to allow the sale of gasoline with a higher ethanol blend, known as E15, during the summer months. The move should increase fuel efficiency and save money for drivers, officials said. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
“And … the congressional Republican plan would put Medicare — in addition to Social Security, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other critical programs for American families — on the chopping block every five years.
“Congressional Republicans have put forward no real plan to lower energy costs. While they point fingers, the president is taking action.”
The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index for March — a top indicator of inflation — increased by 8.5% for the 12 months ending in March. It was the largest one-year jump since 1981. On Wednesday, the department will release the index for April, which economists estimate will show an annual hike of 8.1% by last month.
Concerns about inflation have also weighed on Wall Street. The Dow on Monday tumbled to its lowest level in more than a year and the S&P 500 fell below 4,000 for the first time since April 2021.
Following the move by the Federal Reserve last week to raise interest rates by a half-point, Biden said the government this quarter would reduce the national debt for the first time in six years. Biden said that is “one way to ease inflationary pressures.”
This week in Washington
Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general, speaks during the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Police Executives Forum on Friday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo