WASHINGTON • US President Joe Biden on Monday sought to allay concerns about the price spiral that threatens to hamper the economic recovery in the United States, saying the current rise in inflation is “temporary” and not a problem for the US. long term.
He also said that one of the best ways to keep the U.S. economy on track was for Congress to greenlight additional federal spending in the form of a major bipartisan infrastructure package, which faces at an imminent deadline this week in the US Senate.
The president argued that his administration’s vaccination campaign and his vast national program, which includes injecting trillions of dollars into the economy, “will ease the pressure of inflation” rather than increase it. .
The global supply chain has struggled to get back on track following the coronavirus pandemic, leading to price spikes on many products.
“Some people are concerned that this could be a sign of persistent inflation, but it is not our point of view,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we’ve seen were expected and should be temporary.”
Mr Biden’s efforts to reassure came as U.S. stocks fell 2.1% on Monday amid resurgent Covid-19 fears and concerns about inflation which is pinching global growth.
Mr Biden stressed that the general state of the economy is healthy – despite the “predictions of doom” six months after the start of his administration by Republican critics.
The president, meanwhile, pushed Congress to take action as part of his multibillion-dollar plan to reshape government intervention in American society with the largest federal investments in a generation.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer launched a brutal effort to move on to the first part of Mr Biden’s plan, a historic bipartisan infrastructure package aimed at repairing and upgrading roads, bridges, the country’s ports and broadband Internet.
Mr Schumer kicked off the process that sets up a test vote today – even though the infrastructure deal, being negotiated by 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans and providing for $ 579 billion (S $ 792 billion) new spending, is threatened.
Legislative language has yet to be finalized, as Republicans have objected to a key revenue source under discussion: allowing the government to more aggressively track tax evasion.
Mr Schumer stressed that the first step – a procedural step known as the closing vote – is only an opening bet, and that the bill can be finalized later.
“The motion to proceed Wednesday is simply to start the legislative process here in the Senate,” he told his colleagues. “This is not a deadline for determining all the final details of the bill.”
Mr Biden had previously expressed his support for the move, saying “we should be united” when adopting the bipartisan infrastructure framework that lawmakers and the White House have agreed in general terms after weeks of bargaining.
But some Republicans bristle at the need for speed, as the deal was still evolving.
“How can I vote for closure when the bill is not written?” Senator Bill Cassidy told Fox News on Sunday.
Infrastructure is a slice of Mr. Biden’s national agenda. He also supports a US $ 3.5 trillion fiscal framework that Democrats aim to adopt.
The massive plan, comprising one-time investments in a generation in health, education, climate initiatives and the expansion of social protection, would use a fast-track process known as reconciliation that allows budget-related legislation to be made. ‘be adopted by a simple majority.
With Republicans united against the larger budget bill, every Democrat in the Senate is expected to support the package – no guarantees in a caucus that includes progressives and moderates.
Mr Biden advocated for his wide array of initiatives outlined in the US $ 3.5 trillion framework, saying: “Simply put, we cannot afford not to make these investments.”
Republicans warn that such spending would fuel inflation further. “Another multibillion-dollar tax and reckless spending spree, believe me, is the last thing American families need,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
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