Economic policy

Biden’s economic adviser says Build Back Better is ‘smart economic policy right now’

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Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday that the Build Back Better Bill was “smart economic policy” during a discussion of inflation and if a recession was inevitable.

CNBC host Joe Kernen asked if she “agrees” with the administration’s initial assertions that inflation was transitory.

“The issue of the transient was and is that it was related to the pandemic as opposed to some kind of inflation that we anchored expectations in, and we really ingrained inflation,” she said, adding that she thought inflation would come down as the country returns to economic normality.

President Biden told reporters on Monday that there was “nothing inevitable about a recession.”

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“Now you sound like a Republican politician, just kidding, that was a joke, that was a joke,” Biden told a reporter who asked about economists predicting a recession. “But joking aside, no, I don’t think that’s the case. I was talking to Larry Summers this morning, there’s nothing inevitable about a recession.”

President Joe Biden speaks on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Kernen was joined on CNBC Tuesday morning by Tom Farley, chairman and CEO of Far Peak Acquisition, who asked Rouse if it was time for the administration to push for the Build Back Better bill, noting that it was still on the table.

“The President is focused on inflation and in fact Build Back Better is a long term investment to increase economic capacity so that we are better able to fight inflation. Parts of Build Back Better include managing costs, such as prescription drugs. It includes making investments to make the transition to clean energy, which we know we need to do as well. So that’s not the kind of money that’s a stimulus is an investment, and those are the kinds of investments that pay for themselves over time. That’s smart economic policy right now,” Rouse said.

She further added that Biden is focused on lowering near-term gas prices while investing in the transition to renewable energy.

A view of gasoline prices at a Shell gas station on Friday, March 25, 2022 in New York.

A view of gasoline prices at a Shell gas station on Friday, March 25, 2022 in New York.
(AP Photo/Brittany Newman)

“Is it possible, when Americans are feeling this pain, that this message is a bit muted? And could have a really negative impact in terms of consumer sentiment,” Farley asked.

RETURN COMES AS PRESIDENT BIDEN SUGGEST INFLATION ‘CHANCE’ TO MAKE ‘FUNDAMENTAL TURNING POINT’ TOWARDS CLEAN ENERGY

Rouse said she didn’t know “what part” of it was deaf.

“Focus on the money spent,” Farley reiterated.

“It’s focused on reducing the cost of some of the most important items for Americans,” she replied. “Reducing prescription costs, reducing child care costs, helping people get back to work because they’re able to balance home and work responsibilities. So those are the kinds of investments that we have to do, they spend over time.”

President Biden listens to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 19, 2022, also with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden listens to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 19, 2022, also with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

She said Biden is focused on deficit reduction and understands the role he plays and emphasized investments that will help the economy grow.

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Larry Summers said Monday that the the unemployment rate is expected to rise before inflation comes down.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated at a press conference on Tuesday that the administration does not believe the United States is in a recession, but rather in “transition” to a period steady growth.