President Biden on Thursday pointed to the Federal Reserve as holding the key responsibility for addressing soaring inflation in the U.S., while pushing for trillions in further government spending through his Build Back Better agenda.
The president acknowledged during a White House media conference that rising prices are a problem for Americans and that "we need to get inflation under control," saying that the coronavirus pandemic "created a lot of economic complications, including rapid price increases across the world economy."
"So here's what we're going to do," Biden said. "A critical job in making sure that the elevated prices don't become entrenched rests with the Federal Reserve, which has a dual mandate: full employment and stable prices."
The president credited the central bank with providing "extraordinary support during the crisis for the previous year and a half" before saying that "given the strength of our economy and the pace of recent price increases, it's appropriate – as [Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell] has indicated – to recalibrate the support that is now necessary."
The president went on to say that he respects the Fed's independence while urging the Senate to quickly confirm his five nominees for the Fed's Board of Governors, pointing out that his picks hold "a variety of ideological perspectives" and that the group is "historically diverse."
Biden said the White House has developed plans of its own to assist in fighting inflation through addressing supply chain bottlenecks, promoting competition in market sectors where "a handful of giant companies dominate," and working to pass the multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better Act that has stalled in Congress.
The Biden administration has continued to push Build Back Better as way to alleviate the impact of rising costs on consumers' wallets by capping the cost of childcare, but its high price tag has caused moderate Democrats to balk over concerns that another big-ticket spending bill will only make inflation worse.
The president argues that the plan would actually cut the deficit and boost the economy.
When questioned during the presser over the fact that the proposed Build Back Better legislation appears to be dead in Congress for now, Biden said he might be able to get some of it passed by breaking it into smaller bills.