White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was pressed by MSNBC host Willie Geist on Thursday about what the Biden White House might say to voters that are frustrated by high prices and want to vote Republican.
Geist said steps taken by the Fed as well as the White House to alleviate high prices have not appeared to have an impact yet. “What do you say to a voter who says Democrats are in power, things are too expensive to me, I’m going the other way?” he asked.
Klain replied that he was “covered by the Hatch Act” while speaking from the White House grounds and that he wasn’t supposed to engage in any overt campaigning.
However, he did highlight Biden administration accomplishments. “First of all, we have done things to bring prices down. We passed the Inflation Reduction Act which breaks a 30-year hold that big pharma had on keeping the prices of drugs high. It’s going to start to bring the prices of drugs down. We’ve already announced the Medicare premium will fall next year, first time in a decade that the premium is going down next year,” Klain began.
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He said the administration has brought down the price of gasoline and touted low unemployment rates as well.
“We’re putting Americans back to work. Businesses are open that were closed two years ago, schools are open that were closed two years ago. We’re trying to get over the gigantic economic impacts of COVID. We have higher inflation rates in Europe, inflation is a global problem, but here in America, the president is fighting to bring down prices of everyday things like prescription drugs, like gasoline, and I think, you know, that’s our message to voters at this very tough time,” he continued.
Klain also told host Joe Scarborough that he wasn’t taking Republican criticism of President Biden’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) announcement seriously.
“We had Republicans say, hey, he needs to do something about gas prices, then we did something about gas prices and they’re, like, well, well, don’t do that. So it’s hard for me to take the criticism very seriously. Look, we’ve had a policy this year of a historic release from the petroleum reserve and it’s worked to bring the price of gas down. Over the summer it fell 98 days in a row in part thanks to those releases,” Klain said.
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President Biden announced the administration would be releasing an additional 15 million barrels of oil from the SPR on Wednesday in an effort to keep the cost of gas down following the OPEC+ announcement that it would be cutting oil production.
The president was asked about Republican criticism of the decision by a reporter on Wednesday and if it was meant to give Democrats a political advantage.
“It’s not politically motivated at all,” Biden said in response. “It’s motivated to make sure that I continue to push on what I’ve been pushing on, and that is making sure there’s enough oil that’s being pumped by the companies so that we have the ability to be able to produce enough gas that we need here at home, oil we need here at home and at the same time keep moving in a direction of providing for alternative energy.”
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