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: Biden touts reducing prices for consumers after higher-than-expected reading on inflation

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President Joe Biden on Wednesday is slated to visit an Illinois farm and again highlight his administration’s efforts to fight inflation, with his trip and speech coinciding with the release of a higher-than-expected reading for the consumer price index.

Around 2:15 p.m. Eastern, the president is due to make remarks at a farm in Kankakee, Ill., about ” Putin’s price hike” and the Biden administration’s “actions to support farmers and food processors, lower their costs and lower prices for families,” the White House said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has caused spikes in energy and food prices, and the Biden administration has emphasized that particular driver of inflation, even as elevated government spending and other factors have contributed.

The new actions announced Wednesday by the Biden administration include a push to increase the number of U.S. counties eligible for double cropping insurance, the White House said. Double cropping refers to when farmers plant a second crop on the same land in the same year, which helps to boost production, but then some farmers can’t get crop insurance.  

The actions also include ramping up assistance for “precision agriculture” and doubling funding for domestic fertilizer production — to $500 million from $250 million, according to the White House.

Biden has been talking up his administration’s moves to address inflation repeatedly, while analysts predict defeats for his Democratic Party in November’s midterm elections if high prices persist. He continues to get blamed for high inflation and faces low approval ratings.

On Tuesday, the president gave a speech on inflation in which he aimed to draw a contrast between his plans and how Republicans would address high prices. He gave remarks on Monday that were focused on initiatives to provide free internet service for low-income households.

Wednesday’s CPI report showed the annual rate of inflation fell to 8.3% in April, above forecasts for 8.1%, but marking the first decline in eight months.

“While it is heartening to see that annual inflation moderated in April, the fact remains that inflation is unacceptably high,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “As I said yesterday, inflation is a challenge for families across the country and bringing it down is my top economic priority.”

U.S. stocks
SPX,
+0.41%

DJIA,
+0.65%

COMP,
-0.59%

were mostly gaining in choppy trade, as investors digested the CPI data.

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