President Biden on Tuesday held an event celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act just hours after a dismal report showing that the consumer price index rose 8.3% in August from a year ago.
Speaking from the White House lawn, Biden called the Inflation Reduction Act the “single most important legislation passed in the Congress to combat inflation and one of the most significant laws in our nation’s history.”
“We’re going to build a … future here in the United States of America with American workers, with American companies, with American-made products. And after years of some of the biggest corporations in the United States paying zero in federal income tax,” Biden said. “They’ll now have to begin to literally pay their fair share today.”
Biden slammed Republican lawmakers for not supporting the bill, saying it “fell to Democrats to meet this moment and deliver for the American people.”
The president later said the bill would address the long-neglected climate crisis, saying it would “triple wind power, unleash American manufacturing to own the global market on electric vehicles.”
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“We’re going to fight for environmental justice and create clean energy jobs and apprentices and front-line fence communities that have been smothered by the legacy of pollution,” Biden said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, sharing the stage earlier with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, gave a few remarks, congratulating his colleagues for supposedly helping families make ends meet while “MAGA Republicans” are preoccupied with national abortion bans.
“I want to thank President Biden. We would never, never have gotten the inflation Reduction Act done without his steady hand for over a year and a half,” Schumer said. “He dared us to dream big, pushed us to aim high, and urged us to never let go of our promise to the American people.”
Pelosi commended Biden for not only making history, but making “progress.”
“When Congress passed this legislation, frankly, we jumped for joy,” Pelosi said. “This was so exciting because of the transformative difference this law would make for America’s working families.
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Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law last month after it passed through Congress along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. The act, lawmakers said, was intended to combat climate change, address health care costs and raise taxes on large corporations.
But midway into September, a new report indicated inflation rose more than expected in August, squeezing U.S. households even as the cost of gasoline fell and continued to create a political headache for the president.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index – a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, including gasoline groceries, and rents – rose 8.3% in August from a year ago. Prices climbed 0.1% in the one-month period from July.
Those figures were both higher than the 8.1% headline figure and 0.1% monthly decline forecast by Refinitiv economists, a worrisome sign for the Federal Reserve as it seeks to cool price gains and tame consumer demand with an aggressive interest rate hike campaign. Stock futures tanked on the surprisingly hot report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 400 points.
Earlier Tuesday, the president released a statement saying it “will take more time and resolve to bring inflation down.”
“Today’s data show more progress in bringing global inflation down in the U.S. economy. Overall, prices have been essentially flat in our country these last two months: that is welcome news for American families, with more work still to do,” Biden said.
He added: “Gas prices are down an average of $1.30 a gallon since the beginning of the summer. This month, we saw some price increases slow from the month before at the grocery store. And real wages went up again for a second month in a row, giving hard-working families a little breathing room.”
FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.