WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 02: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a prime-time address Biden spoke on the need for Congress to pass gun control legislation following a wave of mass shootings including the killing of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and a racially-motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York that left 10 dead. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
By Ashley McBride
My organization, For Our Future, is engaged in community organizing and direct voter contact in five key swing states across the country, including Pennsylvania. That means from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Erie to Scranton, we listen to and talk with voters about what matters to them. Unsurprisingly, the economy is always front and center.
When President Joe Biden took office, our country and economy was stifled by the COVID-19 pandemic and failed leadership of the previous presidential administration.
A year-and-a-half later, Biden has delivered the fastest economic recovery in history and the strongest job market in a generation. In his first year in office, we created the most jobs in a single year since our country started keeping records in 1939. The unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4 percent when he took office to its most recent mark of 3.6 percent.
As Biden said, “our economy has gone from being on the mend to on the move.”
Despite the reality of a growing job market, falling unemployment and rising wages, too many people are not feeling the extent of positive impacts in their own bank accounts because of inflation. We all feel it at the gas pump, at the grocery store, and throughout our everyday lives. But because of decisive action by the Biden Administration to pass the American Rescue Plan last year, we are facing these challenges from a position of strength.
Unfortunately, Republican politicians in Washington and Harrisburg want to play the blame game and obstruct from tackling inflation. But it should come as no surprise – as the economy has climbed back during Biden’s presidency and Governor Wolf, congressional and legislative Republicans did all they could to diminish the recovery. They consistently voted against the Biden agenda that reduced unemployment and raised wages and downplayed its positive impacts. Not only have they put forward a very different plan, one that would raise taxes on the middle class and jeopardize the retirement benefits of seniors, but they’ve tried to distract from equitable economic initiatives by waging culture wars across our country.
Fortunately, Biden understands that families are dealing with the challenge of elevated inflation, and he has made clear that bringing down prices is his top priority. He recently laid out a concrete plan to fight inflation.
In addition to giving the Federal Reserve the independence it needs to bring down inflation and further reducing the federal deficit, Biden’s plan calls for Congress to lower costs of housing, prescription drugs, health care, child and elder care, and other essentials for everyday life. There are specifics within the plan and bills in Congress to accomplish these goals.
Now it is time for Congress to listen to people’s needs, step up, and do what’s right for hardworking families across our state and country.
Ashley McBride is the State Director of For Our Future PA, a grassroots organization that promotes progressive and positive change for working families in Pennsylvania.
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