President Joe Biden on Wednesday touted his administration’s successes thus far in office, saying in a speech from the White House that the “Biden economic plan is working.”
The president pointed first to an impressive jobs report from July, noting that his administration added nearly 4 million jobs to the economy within the first six months in office. Hiring surged in July as American employers added 943,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%.
A Wednesday report from the Labor Department also showed that consumer prices jumped 0.5% from June to July, down from the previous monthly increase of 0.9%. They have increased a substantial 5.4%, though, compared with a year earlier.
“This is not accidental,” Biden said of the economic growth. “It is a result of our strategy to get shots in arms, grow the economy from the bottom-up and the middle-out, and it is the result of the American Rescue Plan and everything else we have done. And it is the result of the great determination and really hard work of the american people.”
Still, the administration is hardly finished addressing the repercussions from the ongoing pandemic. Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda effectively has three parts: The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion relief bill which Biden signed into law in March; the American Jobs Plan, which is currently making its way through Congress; and the American Families, which the president introduced earlier this year.
Biden’s speech came on the heels of the Senate’s passage of a sweeping infrastructure framework early Wednesday morning, a $3.5 trillion budget framework that includes a number of social programs – referred to as "human" infrastructure – that can pass without Republican support.
“In the past 24 hours, the Senate has advanced two key pieces of my economic agenda: the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget resolution that is the framework for my Build Back Better plan,” Biden said Wednesday.
The president thanked Republicans for their votes on a $1 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill that passed the Senate with widely bipartisan support — but went on to say it would hardly be enough to make an impact on American families in the long term.
The Build Back Better plan is “not a short-term stimulus, it is a long-term investment in American families,” Biden said, later adding: “A vote against this plan is a vote against lowering the cost of health care, housing, childcare, eldercare, and prescription drugs for American families.”
On Tuesday, a rare coalition of Democrats and Republicans joined together to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure plan for states coast to coast, a package that includes funding for traditional infrastructure like rebuilding roads, broadband internet, water pipes and public works systems.
Biden’s bigger $3.5 trillion package is a more liberal undertaking of child care, elder care and other programs that is much more partisan, and has so far drawn support only from Democrats. The Senate voted 50-49 in favor of the package early Wednesday.
The House is expected to consider both measures when it returns from recess. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to consider both bills at the same time, setting up a particularly tricky tightrope for the California Democrat to walk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.