Biden to blast Republicans as having no plan on inflation

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to deliver remarks on expanding high-speed internet access, during a Rose Garden event at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will use a speech on inflation on Tuesday as an attempt to turn his Democratic Party’s top political liability ahead of congressional elections later this year into an attack on his Republican opposition.

As Americans worry about a spike in inflation that has pushed annual consumer prices more than 8% higher, the president will highlight his administration’s steps to curb inflationincluding the release of oil from strategic petroleum reserves and pressure on companies to return record-high profits to consumers in the form of lower prices.

He is not expected to announce new policy measures in the speech, which comes a day before new consumer price data is expected to show inflation remained elevated through April.

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But Biden is expected to sharpen his attacks on Republicans six months before the Nov. 8 congressional elections, where Democrats are hoping to retain control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“Republicans love to use inflation as a political talking point, but does anyone have a clue what their plan is to bring down prices?” said a White House official who asked not to be named.

Demand stimulated by government spending and savings accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic have been no match for creaky supply chains and labor shortages, prompting higher inflation globally.

That has created a political problem as American consumers stare down higher grocery and gas bills exacerbated by measures blocking Russian oil and gas after the invasion of Ukraine, an action that Russia calls “a special operation.”

Fewer than half of U.S. adults – 44% – approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency and they rate the economy as the country’s most important problem, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll last week.

Republicans are working to capitalize on the issue in the congressional elections, promoting steps including loosening regulations on oil and gas producers as well as cutting some taxes and government spending. But the party has not endorsed any policy document outlining the steps they would take on inflation.

Biden has sharpened his attack on Republicans in recent days, including dismissing former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement as extreme. read more

“Voters know that Republican-led states are leading in economic recovery and job creation, and will vote for Republicans and our proven agenda come November,” said Emma Vaughn, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.


Biden also plans to take aim at a ‘Rescue America’ proposal from Rick Scott, the U.S. senator from Florida, that includes a federal minimum income tax which the White House says would cost middle-class families $1,500 a year.

Scott has said the plan is solely his own, despite his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate Republican caucus. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected Scott’s calls to tax Americans who pay no income tax and sunset Social Security and Medicare entitlements.

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Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Heather Timmons and Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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