Biden Aide Says Inflation Fight Can Advance If Congress Helps

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A top economic adviser to President Joe Biden said he’s hopeful that Congress will pass measures the administration says will help fight inflation in the coming weeks.

“Prices are unacceptably high right now,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in an interview for CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “That’s why the president has said we need to make this our top economic focus and do everything that we can to get them down.”

He cited measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs, tax incentives for energy and a “long-overdue tax reform” as ways to help US households deal with the fastest inflation in 40 years and signal to markets that the US is “deadly serious” about curbing rising prices.

The White House and congressional Democrats are in advanced talks on legislation that seeks to fight inflation, rein in the US budget deficit and revive parts of Biden’s stalled economic agenda, people briefed on the talks said last week.

Deese on Sunday held out the prospect of results, though he declined to set a specific timeline ahead of midterm elections due in November.

“We’re working very closely with congressional leadership, with Senate leadership on that,” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is working with his caucus on, Deese said. “And we’re hopeful that we will see progress on that in the coming weeks.”

“The single most impactful thing that we could do right now is to work with Congress to pass legislation that would lower the costs of things that families are facing right now,” he said.

Inflation is stalking Biden’s presidency, depressing his approval ratings, and has prompted the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. Policy makers on Wednesday increased the federal funds rate by three quarters of a percentage point, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, the largest hike since 1994.

Yet a recession is “not inevitable,” Deese said, citing US economic strengths such as a low unemployment rate. Inflation is “a global challenge,” he said.

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