Aug 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden's inflation jujitsu

In the East Room yesterday, President Biden hands a pen to Brielle Robinson, daughter of the late Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, after signing the PACT Act expansion of veterans' health benefits.
In the East Room yesterday, President Biden hands a pen to Brielle Robinson, daughter of the late Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, after signing the PACT Act expansion of veterans' health benefits. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden plans to go on offense against Republicans' drumbeat about rising prices by arguing the GOP has repeatedly sided with special interests — "pushing an extreme MAGA agenda that costs families," according to a White House memo shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The GOP plans to try to make November's midterms a "gas and groceries" election — all about inflation. Biden can't undo the pain families have felt as everyday prices skyrocketed. So this is his inflation jujitsu — using Republicans' force against them.

Zoom out: Biden is expected to sign Democrats' climate-health-tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, soon after House passage, expected late this week. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the cabinet then will fan out across the country with this message.

  • The White House believes the bill puts Democrats in a position of strength heading into Labor Day.

The memo — from White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and senior adviser Anita Dunn — argues that Biden's wins have dealt blows to a parade of entrenched interests.

  • Among the targets: the pharmaceutical industry, big corporations, the gun lobby and oil and gas companies.
  • "This is the choice before the American people," the memo concludes. "President Biden and Congressional Democrats taking on special interests for you and your family. Or Congressional Republicans’ extreme, MAGA agenda that serves the wealthiest, corporations and themselves."

Between the lines: The special-interest messaging attempts to counter the narrative that Democrats are becoming the party of the economic elite,.

  • It’s a message that Democrats running in swing states — including Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina — are already embracing, in an effort to win back rural and working-class votes Dems lost in 2020.

Both parties are now fighting for the working-class mantel.

  • House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy argues: "President Biden and House Democrats’ radical policies have caused inflation to soar to a 40-year high. They’ve pushed out-of-touch policies that have caused energy prices to rise and real wages to go down."

Go deeper: Enactment timeline for Dems health, climate and tax package

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