President Biden held a meeting with White House officials Monday to discuss the administration’s plan for combating rising prices as inflation continues to surge throughout the U.S., reaching levels not seen in 40 years.
In remarks ahead of the meeting, the president touted an executive order he signed in July aimed at increasing competition by cracking down on larger firms in industries that the administration sees as too “consolidated,” referring to the issue as a decades-old problem the federal government needs to address.
Biden then pointed to an NYU study he says showed that “between generating higher prices and lower wages, lack of competition cost the median American family household … $5,000 a year,” saying, “My executive order is changing that.”
The president went on to point to directives implemented by federal agencies as a result of the executive action, including lifting restrictions on where people can get electronics like smartphones repaired, allowing folks to buy hearing aids without a prescription and addressing non-compete clauses that restrict workers from taking jobs from an employer’s competitors within a period of time.
Biden further emphasized his mission to take action in the meat industry, where consumers have seen eye-popping increases in prices for several months. The president has vowed to provide “more protections for farmers and ranchers.”
He went on to signal further antitrust priorities, taking aim at “Big Ag,” “Big Tech” and “Big Pharma” for “consuming competitors” rather than “competing for customers.”
In recent months, the White House has also pushed for Congress to pass its now-stalled multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better proposal, arguing that much of the inflation woe impacting Americans would be alleviated if the plan passes due to its cap on child care expenses and other initiatives aimed at families.
But Biden admitted last week that the bill would likely have to be broken up in order to get his agenda passed, after moderate West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin balked at the price tag in the 50-50 Senate over concerns that more big spending would cause further inflation.