On Tuesday morning, President Joe Biden had just finished a speech on the contradiction between the two major parties when a reporter tried to ask him a question about one of the biggest political stories of the day: abortion rights.
Biden made it clear. “I want the story to be about inflation,” he explained.
The exchange – and the nearly 25-minute speech that preceded it – reflects the challenge facing the Biden-led Democratic Party as it hopes to defend its ultra-thin congressional majority in November’s midterm elections. While the expected Supreme Court decision that would hit abortion rights is likely to be politically toxic to the GOP and activate elements of the Democratic base, record-high inflation is sure to remain the top issue for all voters. .
Biden’s speech on Tuesday doesn’t mean that he or other prominent Democrats are going to ignore abortion rights as a midterm issue — Biden himself, in Rowe v. Wade as “radical” and suggested a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. may soon target other constitutional rights. But it was striking for Biden’s first openly political speech since the draft leaked for ignoring abortion rights.
Polls, both public and private, show Republicans with a huge lead on which party can better handle inflation. While abortion rights are likely to help separate candidates for Senate and gubernatorial seats, changing the overall political climate will require voters to rely on Democrats to tackle the inflation problem, many of them Biden. to blame for creating
In his speech, Biden tried to turn the issue head on. He argued his policy proposals on health care and energy, much of which remained behind a congressional blockade in the form of Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va), would help tackle rising costs, while the Republican “ultra-maga” agenda. Will adopt Rick Scott (R-Fla.) that would raise taxes on Americans and sunset Social Security and Medicare.
“I know families across America are hurting because of inflation,” Biden said on Tuesday, declaring the fight against inflation his “top household priority.”
Americans see inflation the most at the gas pump. The average gallon gas price hit $4.37 nationwide on Tuesday, the highest in history without taking inflation into account. (The inflation-adjusted mark was in July 2008.) The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also set to release an inflation report for April on Wednesday morning, with the White House praying for signs that inflation is slowing from March’s 8.5% mark.
The main reason for inflation is a rapid increase in demand for goods and services as the world comes out of the recession induced by the coronavirus pandemic, with supply chain snafus related to the pandemic, especially rising costs of microprocessors, adding to the problem. Economists also point to the US rescue plan, which Biden and Democrats passed down last year, as a contributing factor. The recent surge in oil and food prices is the result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – both countries are major wheat producers – and has resulted in Western sanctions imposed on Russia.
Inflation has outweighed other positive economic news altogether, including record job growth and a sharp increase in the creation of new businesses.
“Our economy has moved on from recovery,” Biden said later during his speech. [inflation] challenge than any other country in the world. ,
In his speech, Biden related a range of steps his administration has taken to tame inflation, from releasing one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to trying to crack down on concentration in the meat industry. . He envisioned the remaining elements of his Build Back Better agenda—including raising taxes on the wealthy, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and spending more on clean energy—as a way to lower costs.
However, much of Biden’s speech was devoted to defining the GOP as more extreme than ever and as much a threat to Americans’ wallets as their uterus. To do so, he has waged an uphill battle with Scott, a close ally of former President Donald Trump and leader of the National Republican Senate Committee.
Earlier this year, Scott introduced a plan requiring every American to pay at least some income taxes—a move that would result in tax increases for millions of middle-class American households. The plan also stated that all federal legislation would expire every five years unless Congress voted to reauthorize it. Biden and other Democrats have painted that provision as a potential threat to Social Security and Medicare.
“I can’t believe most Republicans buy into Scott’s plan,” Biden said. “But it’s a plan in writing, and that’s in the lead.”
Other members of the GOP, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have tried to distance themselves from Scott’s agenda. But Biden is clearly planning to make the Florida senator a staunch conservative, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, a key figure in Democratic messaging.
Scott responded by challenging Biden to a debate, suggesting he should resign and that the president was not fair to say.
“Joe Biden is unwell. He is unfit for office. He is inconsistent, incompetent and confused,” Scott told reporters at the Capitol. “He doesn’t know where he is half the time. He is unable to lead and he is unable to perform his duties.”
Biden shrugs off Scott’s comments: “The man has a problem.”
Other members of Biden’s administration discussed the upcoming decision on Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified before the Senate Banking Committee that withdrawing abortion rights would hurt the economy.
“Abolishing women’s right to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have a very damaging impact on the economy and set women decades behind,” Yellen said.
Even as Biden tried not to talk about abortion rights, Democrats in the major races were increasingly focused on the issue. Party strategists hope it can fire a Democratic base that trails the GOP in enthusiasm, while also winning over swing voters in Democratic-leaning states.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan released a digital ad for one, attacking three of her potential GOP opponents who “wanted to complete Mitch McConnell’s decades-long crusade to criminalize abortion.”
Republicans plan to accuse Democrats of focusing on abortion rights at the expense of the economy. An NRSC memo advising candidates about talking about abortion said they should accuse Democrats of “wanting.”[ing] Spreading and spreading lies about abortion not only because they have failed to address the concerns of the American people; His agenda has made things worse.”