WASHINGTON — The White House is ramping up its efforts to illustrate the real-world impact of President Joe Biden’s signature climate, health care and tax law by showing how various Americans say they’ve benefited from his economic policies on the anniversary of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.
At a White House event Wednesday afternoon to celebrate a year since he signed the bill, Biden will stand alongside people — from union workers to small business owners to consumers — who the White House says have been aided by the law. That sweeping package, along with the bipartisan infrastructure law and a massive bill that bolsters production of semiconductor chips, make up the core of what the White House has branded “Bidenomics.” It’s aggressively promoting the concept as Biden seeks to improve his standing with voters amid his re-election campaign.
Before the East Room event, the administration is rolling out a new online tool on invest.gov that relays stories from across the country about the impact of the president’s economic agenda.
The White House is on a sprint to connect what they say is a popular economic agenda with an unpopular incumbent president, as polls show a majority of voters consistently disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy even amid signs of a U.S. economic upswing.
The inflation rate has cooled over the past year to a more manageable 3.2% annually, while job growth has stayed solid and the economy has avoided the recession that many analysts said would be needed to bring down prices. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that retail sales have climbed 3.2% over the past 12 months.
That level of consumer spending led the investment bank Goldman Sachs to raise its expectations for overall growth in the third quarter to an annual rate of 2.2%. The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow estimate jumped even higher with the forecast of third-quarter growth reaching 5%.
The evidence of economic strength has yet to translate into political gains for Biden, who has devoted the past several weeks to traveling the U.S. He’s emphasized the roughly $500 billion worth of investments by private companies that have been spurred by his policies.
Aides say the mood of the American electorate has been dampened in recent years by outside forces such as a once-in-a-century pandemic and the time it takes for laws signed by Biden to have an impact.
“They’ll take time for people to feel,” Olivia Dalton, the principal White House deputy press secretary, said Tuesday as Biden traveled to Wisconsin. “But we believe we’re headed in the right direction and people are going to increasingly see that, and the president is going to keep talking about it.
During his remarks Wednesday, Biden will lean into the climate provisions of the law, noting how the investments spurred by it have not only created jobs but given communities new resources to protect themselves from climate-related threats.
U.S. Treasury is marking the legislation’s anniversary by releasing a new analysis that it says shows new clean energy investments spurred by the law are largely benefitting underserved communities.
The agency report issued Wednesday states that new investments in clean energy, electric vehicles and batteries are concentrated in areas with lower employment, wages and college graduation rates.
“Not only will these investments provide opportunity to communities that need it the most, but they will also leverage the most promising regions for national productivity growth,” said Treasury officials Eric Van Nostrand and Laura Feiveson in a Wednesday blog post.
But the name is the Inflation Reduction Act after all, despite the minimal impact that the law has had in actually taming cost prices over the past year. So the administration is also rolling out a new report from the Department of Energy that shows the law will cut electricity rates up to 9 percent and lower gas prices by up to 13 percent by the year 2030.
Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Fatima Hussein contributed to this report.