WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden delivered remarks Thursday on the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” hours after the government reported the economy shrank for a second straight quarter, raising fears that the nation may be approaching a recession.
“This bill will reduce inflationary pressures on the economy,” Biden said declaring his support for the “historic” inflation-fighting agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and holdout Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, an expansive health care and climate change package that had eluded the White House and seemed all but lost.
“The bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans,” the president said. “And it will be the most important investment, not hyperbole, the most important investment we’ve ever made in our energy security, and developing cost savings and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future.”
Watch President Biden’s full press conference in the video player at the top of the page.
According to Biden it will also lower healthcare costs for millions of Americans who buy their own health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s a godsend, literally a godsend for many families,” Biden said of the bill.
Biden vowed the package will not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year. Instead, the 15% corporate minimum tax will help fund the new costs, with extra going to deficit reduction.
He acknowledged the final product was a compromise, saying, “I know the compromise on inflation bill doesn’t include everything that I’ve been pushing for since I got to office,” but was upbeat that it would win support in Congress.
“My plea is: Put politics aside. Get it done,” Biden said. “We should pass this.”
The $739 billion package, not as much as Biden once envisioned, remains a potentially remarkable achievement for the party, with long-sought goals of addressing health care and climate, while raising taxes on high earners and large corporations and reducing federal debt.
Schumer told fellow Senate Democrats they now have an opportunity to achieve two “hugely important” priorities on health care and climate change, if they stick together and approve a deal he brokered with Manchin.
The president’s address comes as the Commerce Department reported a decline in the gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — followed a 1.6% annual drop from January through March. Consecutive quarters of falling GDP constitute one informal, though not definitive, indicator of a recession.
The report comes at a critical time. Consumers and businesses have been struggling under the weight of punishing inflation and higher borrowing costs.
The latest NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll found that voters’ fears about inflation are rising, surpassing their concerns about unemployment. More than 62% of voters surveyed ranked inflation chief atop their concerns facing the country, rising above their worries about unemployment, COVID-19 and crime.
The Senate is expected to vote on the wide-ranging measure next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.