The Administration this week is highlighting its comprehensive strategy to boost the capacity of the economy and lower costs for working families – from addressing supply chain bottlenecks, to making our economy more competitive, and pushing for legislation to ease everyday costs and make more in America. The President will speak to that this afternoon in Virginia, where he’ll discuss how we can lower the price of prescription drugs for working Americans.
Thanks in part to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the U.S. is in the midst of a historic economic recovery. In 2021, we saw the strongest monthly job growth ever recorded, the largest decline in unemployment ever recorded, the strongest economic growth in four decades, and an estimated nearly 40 percent decline in child poverty. Despite this progress, the U.S., along with much of the world, is grappling with elevated price increases brought on by the pandemic. These price increases hit families’ budgets, and create anxiety about the future. While experts expect inflation to moderate in the months ahead, President Biden is taking action now.
President Biden’s plan starts with respecting the Federal Reserve’s independence to keep elevated price increases from becoming entrenched. The Federal Reserve provided extraordinary support during the crisis. Given the strength of our recovery, and the pace of recent price increases, it is appropriate for them to recalibrate that support.
Beyond the Fed, the President believes that the most important thing he and Congress can do is build a more productive economy – with greater capacity to deliver goods and services to the American people. He does not agree with those who believe that the only solution is to make working families that are the backbone of our country poorer. Instead, the President is focused on building a growing economy, where folks have more choices, where more small businesses can compete, and where more goods get to market faster and cheaper. That means expanding the supply-side of the economy, over the short-, medium-, and long-term. Specifically, the Biden-Harris Administration is:
Fixing our supply chains and infrastructure, and making more in the United States.
The Administration is restoring American manufacturing and rebuilding American infrastructure, so we can make more here at home and move goods more efficiently and reliably through the economy. In February, the President issued an Executive Order to strengthen our supply chains, and in June established the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to bring a whole-of-government approach to addressing the immediate disruptions linked to the global pandemic. The President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide the funding needed to close vulnerabilities and improve efficiency at our ports, roads, waterways, and railroads. The Administration is focused on addressing challenges and boosting capacity in three key sectors: transportation, semiconductors, and agriculture.
- In the transportation sector, in 2021 the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—which process 40 percent of the nation’s containerized imports—broke their 2018 record for annual containerized imports by 13 percent. After working with the Biden-Harris Administration, they also reduced the number of containers sitting on the docks for 9 days or more by 60 percent. Thanks in part to the Administration’s efforts, American retailers’ shelves were well stocked for the record-breaking holiday season and 97 to 99 percent of consumers received their packages on time or with minimal delays. The Administration’s Ports Action Plan and a Trucking Action Plan are helping American port operators move a record amount of goods from ships to shelves as quickly as possible and connect more Americans to good jobs in the trucking industry. And by investing in our longer-term infrastructure needs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help make our transportation system more effective and make it easier and cheaper for businesses to move goods to market.
- In the semiconductor sector, the Administration is working to expand U.S. chip manufacturing capacity, bring back American manufacturing jobs, address the chip shortage, and ensure we are not exposed to these disruptions again. Auto inflation – caused in part by the global semiconductor shortage – has caused around a third of the core inflation we’ve seen in the last year. But the Administration is making important progress. In just the last few weeks, Intel and GM announced they are building new chip and EV manufacturing plants right here in the United States. To accelerate this progress, the President is urging Congress to pass legislation to strengthen U.S. research and development and manufacturing for critical supply chains, including semiconductors.
- In the agriculture and meat processing sector, the Administration is providing financing to expand independent food processing capacity and support workers; strengthening rules that protect farmers, ranchers, and consumers; and expanding access to affordable, high-quality food for those in need, including in schools.
Fighting to lower kitchen table costs.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, too many working families felt the squeeze of an ever-increasing cost of living. President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda is the most significant effort to bring down costs and strengthen the middle class in generations. In addition to major investments in children and care, climate, and health, the framework includes targeted investments that will help lower the costs families pay right away. For example, Build Back Better will lower the cost of health care, child care, and prescription drugs and provide access to free preschool for all three and four year-olds. These investments are paid for, and will increase our economy’s capacity over time by getting more people working and lowering costs families struggle with. President Biden is focused on working with Congress to enact these proposals as quickly as possible.
Protecting consumers and promoting competition.
The decades-long trend of corporate consolidation in many sectors of our economy has left consumers, innovators, and our economy worse off. Lack of competition drives up prices for consumers, with families paying higher prices for prescription drugs, hearing aids, internet service, and more. President Biden is focused on promoting competition to make our economy more productive, boost growth and innovation, and generate lower prices and more options for consumers. In July, the President signed a historic Executive Order establishing a whole-of-government effort to boost competition in the American economy. The Order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy. For example, in October the Food and Drug Administration released a new proposed rule that would make it possible for hearing aids to be sold over the counter without a prescription, which is expected to save people hundreds of dollars.