After his remarks, Biden lingered at the podium to take a few questions on the topic of inflation. (He dismissed all other questions, including one on abortion.”
Asked whether he believed his agenda was to blame or had contributed to rising costs, he said his policies have helped not hurt the economy.
Yet he said he understood why Americans were frustrated as they struggled to pay bills and afford basic necessities like gas and food.
“We’re in power…we control all three branches of government,” he said, before lamenting that Democrats did not have 60 votes in the Senate to advance his agenda.
“They’re frustrated,” he said of voters. “I don’t blame them.”
Asked why he hasn’t urged Americans to travel less and shift to more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, Biden said Americans are already reducing their travel to save on costs.
A reporter asked for Biden’s response to the statement from senator Scott, which referred to Biden as “incoherent” and said the president should resign, a reporter asked for his response. Laughing, Biden said: “I think the man has a problem.”
He also said he was surprised that the “ultra-MAGA” Republicans maintained such a strong grip on the party.
On the topic of Trump’s tariffs on China, Biden said he was deliberating over whether to lift them but no decision had been made.
Here is the quote in full that effectively, though not succinctly, sums up the White House’s message on inflation heading into the midterm elections.
Americans have a choice right now between two paths, reflecting two very different sets of values. My plan attacks inflation and grows the economy by lowering the costs for working families, giving workers well-deserved raises, reducing the deficits by historic levels, and making big corporations and the very wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. The other path is the ‘ultra-MAGA’ plan put forward by Congressional republicans to raise taxes on American families , lower the income of American workers, threaten sacred programs Americans count on like social security, medicare and medicaid, and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires just like they did the last time in power when their top priority was the reckless $2tn tax cut the majority of that going to the wealthiest Americans which ballooned the deficit and not a penny of it was paid for,” the president said.
Speaking from the White House, Biden laid the blame for rising costs on two key factors: a “once-in-a-century pandemic” that shut down the global economy and snarled supply chains and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who invaded Ukraine and sent the cost of gas and food soaring.
“I want every American to know that I’m taking inflation very seriously and it’s my top domestic priority,” Biden said.
Republicans and some economists have accused the White House of being slow to recognize the urgency of inflation, which Biden once suggested would be temporary. But as costs continue to climb, Biden has re-oriented his agenda to address inflation, which he said was the nation’s “top economic challenge right now.”
Biden is now assailing Republicans for their economic agenda, which he said is making inflation worse. He blamed them for being “extreme” and more interested in protecting large corporations than working families.
“In this moment of peril, with the war overseas and inflation surging around the world, the last thing we should be thinking about is rewarding companies for exploiting the situation,” Biden said.
The president is now pulling from Scott’s aforementioned 11-point plan, warning that Republicans are a threat to beloved social-safety net programs like social security and Medicare.
Even if Republicans don’t ultimately want to end those programs, Biden said they would use the threat as a “hostage” to get their way on other issues.
Senator Bob Casey, a Catholic and one of the last self-described “pro life” Democrats, announced on Tuesday that he would support legislation to codify Roe v Wade.
In a statement, the Pennsylvania Democrat said the “circumstances on the entire debate of abortion have changed” after a leaked draft opinion revealed the nation’s highest court was prepared to end a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. The question before the Senate now, he argues, is “do you support a categorical ban on abortion?”
“During my time in public office, I have never voted for – nor do I support – such a ban,” he said.
Casey voted previously to open debate on the measure, but said would support the bill if it ever came to a final vote. His decision underscores how deeply partisan the issue of abortion has become.
Yet his support for the measure does little to change its political fate in Congress – the bill does not have the support of a single Republican, including the two pro-choice Republican senators who have introduced separate legislation to codify Roe. It remains unclear if Joe Manchin, the other Democrat who has opposed abortion rights, will vote to advance the measure when it comes up for a preliminary vote on Wednesday.
The announcement came as activists said they were staging a sit in at Casey’s office in the state’s capital, Harrisburg, demanding he back efforts to protect abortion rights.
The president is due to speak shortly about the administration’s efforts to reduce inflation. But a significant chunk of the remarks are expected to highlight a plan by Senator Rick Scott, a Republican of Florida, that would increase the federal income taxes for many Americans.
A White House statement on Tuesday said: Congressional Republicans, led by Senator Rick Scott, have called for a new minimum tax on the middle class – firefighters and teachers – that would mean an average of almost $1,500 less in families’ pockets each year. And, while part of President Biden’s plan to lower costs is to strengthen Medicare by giving it the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, 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.
However, few Republicans have embraced the plan and many have denounced it.
Inflation is a top concern for many voters, and Republicans are confident that blaming Democrats for rising costs is a winning message ahead of the 2022 midterms. In response, the White House and Democrats have seized on Scott’s 11-point plan to make the case that Republicans, not Democrats, want to raise taxes on Americans.
Ahead of the president’s remarks, Scott, who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has issued a blistering statement calling Biden “unwell” and “unfit for office”.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said ending the constitutional right to an abortion would have “very damaging” effect on the economy and women’s earning potential.
Testifying before the Senate banking committee this morning, Yellen was asked by Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat of New Jersey, what the loss of abortion access would mean for women economically.
I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said.
Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, pushed back on Yellen’s assertion that the loss of abortion access will hurt women economically, bolstered by years of research, calling it “callous” and “harsh.”
“It means children will grow up in poverty,” she replied.
As the White House prepares to convene a Covid-19 summit this week, former heads of state, dignitaries and Nobel laureates are urging Biden to do more to lead the world’s response to the virus and improve preparedness for a future pandemic.
According to the New York Times, the group are calling on the US to commit $5bn to combat the virus globally.
“I want America to recognize that the disease is not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” former British prime minister Gordon Brown told the New York Times in an interview.
“We must not sleepwalk into the next variant,” said Brown, now the now the World Health Organization’s ambassador for global health financing>
But as we explained earlier, the White House’s request for additional resources to buy more tests, vaccines and therapeutics is being held up in Congress over Republican opposition to a decision by the administration to lift a pandemic-era immigration rule.
On Monday, Biden said it a statement that he supported the decision to decouple coronavirus funding from an aid package for Ukraine, leaving the fate of the former uncertain.
“Let me be clear,” Biden said in the statement, “as vital as it is to help Ukraine combat Russian aggression, it is equally vital to help Americans combat Covid. Biden told lawmakers that a failure to approve additional funding would hurt both domestic and international efforts to beat back the pandemic.
Biden has requested $22.5bn in emergency coronavirus aid, including $5bn for the global response to the pandemic. The virtual summit on Thursday will be hosted jointly by Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.
Lawmakers on Tuesday are set to begin debating a nearly $40bn aid package, an extraordinary sum that exceeds the $33bn Biden requested of Congress.
An agreement was reached among Congressional leaders to swiftly send the aid to Biden’s desk, after Democrats untangled the package from a separate request for coronavirus funding.
“We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort,” Biden said in a statement on Monday. “. Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately, so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away.” He urged Congress to send the package to him “in the next few days.”
As lawmakers discuss the aid, Ukraine Ambassador Oksana Markarova will be on the Hill to speak at the caucus lunches, according to The Hill. It comes after Biden on Monday signed a bill into law that will expedite the shipment of military aid and equipment to Ukraine and other allies in Eastern Europe.
While the agreement paves the way for additional aid to Ukraine, the fate of billions of dollars in funding for coronavirus vaccines, testing and therapeutics remains uncertain.
With the supreme court poised to end the constitutional right to an abortion, Democrats are under increasing pressure to fulfill their promises to protect reproductive choice.
On Wednesday, they will hold a vote in the Senate on legislation that would codify the landmark supreme court decision Roe v Wade into federal law. But the bill is doomed to fail amid Republican opposition.
And when it does, Democrats are not planning to hold a vote to modify or end the Senate filibuster, according to the Washington Post.
That is not particularly surprising or new.
For months, activists have been demanding Democrats amend or eliminate the filibuster, the parliamentary procedure requiring 60 votes to move forward with most legislation, to pass measures they believe are critical on voting rights, immigration and, now, abortion rights. But Democrats lack the votes to do so in the evenly divided Senate and the revelation that the supreme court intends to strike down Roe hasn’t changed the calculus.
But that hasn’t stopped some progressive Democrats from trying. According to the Post, a group of 114 House Democrats, led by Illinois congressman Sean Casten, California congresswomen Judy Chu and Barbara Lee, Missouri congresswoman Cori Bush and Colorado congresswoman Diana DeGette, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer demanding he hold a vote to scrap the filibuster.
“When voters gave Democrats control of the House, Senate, and the White House, they did so with the expectation that we would legislate boldly and do what is necessary to advance our fight for justice and economic prosperity. Now more than ever it is the time to deliver on our promises,” the letter states. “The Senate must meet the moment, end the filibuster, and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) immediately.”
Schumer almost certainly won’t hold such a vote. Two Democratic senators – Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia – publicly oppose such a move, leaving the party at least two votes shy of enacting the change.
Good morning. It’s another busy day in Washington DC, as the president and lawmakers on Capitol Hill scramble to respond to some of the most urgent issues of the day – rising inflation, the anticipated demise of Roe v Wade, the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.
From the White House, Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the administration’s efforts to combat inflation at 11.30am. He will attempt to draw a sharp contrast with what the White House is calling “Congressional Republicans’ ultra-Maga plan to raise taxes on 75 million American families and threaten to sunset programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid”.
Later in the day, the US president will hold a bilateral meeting with the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi.
Jen Psaki, in her last week as press secretary, will brief reporters at 2.30pm ET.
Expect lots of wheeling and dealing on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans in both chambers are hoping to push through a massive aid bill for Ukraine. The swift action comes after Biden gave his blessing for decoupling the Ukraine aid from a Covid preparedness funding bill that Republicans oppose. This makes the road to passing any sort of Covid funding much more precarious.
At the same time, Democrats are preparing to hold a doomed vote on legislation that would codify the constitutional right to abortion into federal law. A vote is expected tomorrow.
And it’s another primary day. This Tuesday, it’s West Virginia and Nebraska holding elections that offer another test of former president Donald Trump’s influence within the Republican party.
Thanks for following along.
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