A Fox News Poll published last week showed that 85% of Americans are either extremely concerned about inflation or very concerned. That compares to 72% who are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, 58% concerned about voter suppression and 59% concerned about the southern border.
But while members of Congress and the White House spend a lot of time proposing solutions to these problems, there has been less work on legislation or policy specifically focused on inflation, which is the highest since decades.
“Where’s the cost of living war room, right?” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said on NBC “Meet the press” this week. “Where is the inflation task force? Where is the energy around that because that’s what everyone talks about when I sit with them.”
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According to a Senate GOP aide, Congress has already taken the first big step toward fixing inflation.
“Kill BBB? the aide said when asked what was the best way for Congress to address the issue.
BBB is shorthand for the Democrats’ massive reconciliation spending bill, the Build Back Better Act, which appears dead in the water due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va. Manchin and the Republicans argued that the trillions in government spending in the bill would increase the inflation the United States already faces.
A Midwest House GOP aide, meanwhile, said that because the causes of inflation are so “multifaceted,” there is no single action Congress can take to stop it.
The aide said “blocking and tackling bad policies” is about anything members of Congress concerned about inflation can do at this point.
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These include, the aide said, school closures that make it difficult for parents to work; additional unemployment benefits that discourage work; containment policies that led to saving and then overspending, which stretched the supply chain; and more. This is on top of government spending proposals like the BBB or the US bailout Democrats forced through Congress last year.
Former President Donald Trump also oversaw massive spending in the first year of the pandemic, including two rounds of stimulus checks for all Americans.
Among potential solutions, the Midwest House GOP aide said, Republicans could propose a bill later this year to “reduce the eligibility of young, able-bodied, undependents for several social safety net programs. “. But it’s unclear whether Democrats in Congress would buy into that idea, and the bill won’t be ready for months.
The House Shipping Reform Act, which ran through House 364-60, could also help address supply chain issues, the aide said. But it is unclear when or if the Senate will take up this bill.
Democrats, meanwhile, say they have a series of policies that could reduce inflation. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., argued that one of them is the BBB, which Democrats say will use government controls to drive down the prices of many goods and services. Its child care policies could also help parents get back to work, Democrats say. But this bill is effectively dead.
“I am deeply concerned about inflation, which is fueled by the ongoing pandemic and its disruption of supply chains. We need to tackle the cost drivers that are burdening families and show them that we care,” said Kaine at Fox News. .
“I’m pushing to pass Build Back Better Bill initiatives that will reduce the cost of health care, prescription drugs, education, child care, housing, and more.” he declared. “I am also pushing to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and implement the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will help alleviate supply chain issues and increase national production capacity.
The US Innovation and Competition Act, formerly the Endless Frontier Act, passed the Senate with a bipartisan majority last year. It is intended to help the United States compete with China. But it was stalled amid a disagreement with the House over exactly what should be in the bill.
Top House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a second version of their China competition bill, called the America COMPETES Act. Among the policies that Democrats say could reduce inflation is funding to tackle the global chip shortage.
A compromise between the two chambers on competition and chips in China might be the most realistic action Congress could take against inflation this year. But House Republicans are already warning that if the final product looks too much like what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, released this week, there may be no GOP votes. for it.
“We have been in talks with the House and Senate Jurisdiction Committees for weeks, trying to put together a bipartisan bill that could pass Congress. Rather than let those talks proceed, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats decided to torpedo the possibility of a bipartisan, bicameral bill to address the generational threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee member Michael McCaul. representatives, R-Texas, in a statement.
The White House, meanwhile, blames big business and a “lack of competition” for the price hike. He has specifically targeted the meat industry in recent months, although President Biden blamed a wider range of industries in his remarks this week, including “big tech, big pharma, the list goes on. “.
At the same event, where he announced an executive order to clamp down on allegedly anti-competitive practices, Biden appeared to admit that inflation could hurt Democrats this fall.
When asked if inflation was a political handicap ahead of the midterm elections, Biden sarcastically replied, “No, that’s a great asset. No more inflation. What a stupid son of a** **.”
Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie and Peter Doocy contributed to this report.