Economic policy

President Biden touts economic policy for the ‘long term’ as his agenda is put to the test this week on Capitol Hill

A day before marking six months in office, President Biden delivered remarks on the economy Monday at the White House amid pressure for a bipartisan infrastructure package and other elements of the president’s economic agenda heats up on Capitol Hill. The president urged lawmakers to move forward with the spending proposals, arguing that the plans will tackle some of the most lingering economic challenges facing the country as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.

“It’s the best strategy for creating millions of jobs and raising middle-class families, raising wages and keeping prices affordable for the long term,” Biden said.

Last month, the economy created 850,000 jobs, after two months of growth below that expected by economists. The number of people filing unemployment claims for the first time last week reached its lowest number since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, another sign of the slow recovery of the economy. During his speech, Mr. Biden touted the creation of 3 million jobs since taking office and welcomed the passage of the US bailout package in March.

“The United States is the only developed country in the world where growth projections are stronger today than they were before the pandemic hit,” Biden said. He claimed his administration had brought the country “from the brink”.

But the president warned that the United States could not be complacent. He urged Americans to get vaccinated.

At the same time, the president is promoting a nearly $600 billion bipartisan infrastructure framework being negotiated by a group of senators that focuses primarily on transportation and broadband. At the same time, Democrats are working on a budget resolution for a roughly $3.5 trillion package that will address some of Biden’s other top priorities, including education, child care and change. climatic.

Mr. Biden also directly pushed back against Republican arguments that his spending program would only fuel inflation. The president argued that the price hike should be temporary as the economy reopens.

“My administration understands that if we ever were to experience runaway inflation over the long term, it would pose a real challenge to our economy,” Biden said. “So while we’re confident that’s not what we’re seeing today, we’ll remain vigilant as to any response that’s needed.”

The president said the spending would boost productivity and wages. He argued that it would actually reduce the pressure on inflation and said those whose main concern is inflation should be “even more enthusiastic” about the plans.

Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, announced he would file a closure on Monday, clearing the way for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to move forward. A first vote could take place on Wednesday as lawmakers prepare to finalize the deal. However, some Republican lawmakers expressed concern about setting a deadline on Wednesday, saying the goal was to get it right. Some key aspects of the infrastructure bill are still under development.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio revealed that a provision to help pay for infrastructure, providing the IRS with additional funding to track tax enforcement, would not be part of the deal.

“One of the reasons it’s not part of the proposal is that we got pushed back,” Portman told CNN. “Another reason is that we found out that the Democrats were going to put a proposal in the reconciliation package that was not only similar to the one we had, but with a lot more enforcement from the IRS.”

Initially, the infrastructure framework included $40 billion in additional funding for the IRS. The Biden administration wanted $80 billion in total for the IRS over 10 years to help the agency fight against tax evasion. The Treasury Department has estimated that the so-called tax gap, or the difference between what is owed and what has actually been paid, will reach $7 trillion over the next decade. Mr Biden has argued that it is time for the biggest corporations and wealthy Americans to pay their fair share. On Monday, Biden said the expenses would be paid responsibly.

Portman said Sunday it was important the infrastructure bill was paid and that additional meetings were held over the weekend to discuss it.

Schumer also said he wants Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement by Wednesday on the budget resolution. It is planned to include provisions such as the extension of the improved monthly payment Child tax credit paymentspaid family leave, universal pre-kindergarten for three and four year olds, making college more affordable and spending on clean energy.