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President Biden on Tuesday is expected to outline his plan to lower costs for American families and tackle the historic inflation facing the nation, while drawing a stark contrast between his administration’s policies and an “ultra-MAGA” proposal that White House officials say would be “devastating” for the middle class.
A White House official said Biden will lay out his “plan to tackle inflation” on Tuesday.
Inflation numbers released last month revealed a new four-decade high in March as Russia’s war on Ukraine fueled rapid price gains for oil and gas that wiped out the benefits of rising wages for most Americans.
The consumer price index rose 8.5% in March from a year ago, according to the Labor Department report released Tuesday, marking the fastest increase since January 1982 when inflation hit 8.4%. The CPI, which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents, jumped 1.2% in the period from January.
The White House has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the record-high gas prices in the U.S., even coining the surge as the “#PutinPriceHike” and vowing that Biden will do everything he can to shield Americans from “pain at the pump.”
Biden, last month, announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow E15 gasoline – gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend – to be sold in the United States this summer in an effort to expand Americans’ access to an affordable fuel supply amid the surge in gas prices across the nation.
A White House official pointed to Biden’s move to take steps to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the next 6 months. Biden also is expected to continue to call on Congress to make companies pay fees on idled wells and non-producing acres of federal lands, so that companies will have to choose whether to begin producing, or pay a fee.
The official said the president will also call on Congress to pass “clean energy and vehicle tax credits and investments” in an effort to reduce U.S. dependence on “reckless autocrats like Putin,” while saving money for families and accelerating “homegrown clean energy innovation.”
The official said the president will also lay out ways to lower prescription drug and health care costs, lower food prices by helping American farmers, lower the cost of every day goods by repairing supply chains, and lower the costs of child care and housing.
The White House official also referred to Biden’s move last month to freeze federal student loan payments and interest rates through August.
“These are just a handful of examples of what the Administration has been doing day in and day out for months to put more money in the pockets of Americans,” the official said. “On the other hand, Republicans love to use inflation as a political talking point, but does anyone have a clue what their plan is to bring down prices?”
The official pointed to a tax plan rolled out by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., titled the “11 Point Plan to Rescue America,” which proposed raising income taxes on Americans.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott wrote in the plan. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
The White House official, on Tuesday, said “the only plan congressional Republican leadership has put forward is an ultra-MAGA proposal that would raise taxes on 75 million, primarily middle-class, American families while sunsetting vital programs like Social Security and Medicare.”
“You can expect the President will talk about why that plan might make sense to people with memberships at Mar-a-Lago, but would be devastating for the middle class,” the White House official said.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shut down the Scott proposal, saying last month that Republicans “will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
A senior Republican source told Fox News that “income tax hikes are never part of the discussion when Republicans are in charge in Washington.”
Last week, Biden, speaking from the White House, ripped Scott for his plan saying, “It’s extreme, as most MAGA things are. It will actually raise taxes on 75 million American families.”
Scott denied Biden’s claims, highlighting rising consumer prices as American families grapple with sky-high prices at the grocery store and the gas pump.
“Taxes have gone up on Americans constantly… My plan is to reduce taxes, but let’s get everybody back to work,” Scott said last week. “I want to fix this country. We’ve got to rescue this country, not take it down Joe Biden’s horrible path.”
The president, for weeks, has been taking aim at Republicans—specifically his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, and the “MAGA” movement that he says has taken over the GOP.
Last week, Biden, reacting to the leaked draft majority opinion signaling the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, said: “This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history—-in recent American history.”
Biden’s comments about “MAGA” come after he declared last month that the GOP “ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” saying it has shifted to a “MAGA party,” warning that right-leaning politicians “who know better” are “afraid to act correctly” out of fear of losing a primary election.
The White House, last week, also said the president has been “struck” by the “hold” former President Trump has on the Republican Party.
“He has been struck by the hold his predecessor seems to have on far too many members of the party,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
Meanwhile, the president is ramping up for the midterm elections, rolling out endorsements for Democrats, hitting the campaign trail for fundraisers, underscoring his agenda and working to “sharpen the contrast” between his administration and congressional Republicans, a Biden adviser told Fox News last month.
“Expect more POTUS,” the adviser said, adding that in the months leading up to the midterm elections, the president will hit the trail with more travel to speak “directly to the American people both about what we’ve done and what we are doing.”
Part of Biden’s key strategy on the campaign trail, the adviser said, will be to “sharpen the contrast” between Democrats and Republicans.