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Biden Highlights Progress on Inflation at Inaugural Meeting of Supply Chain Council

President Joe Biden kicked off the first meeting of his supply chain resilience council on Monday by cautioning companies against price gouging and asserting that his administration was focused on reducing expenses for American families.

“We know that prices are still too high for too many things, that times are still too tough for too many families,” Biden said. “But we’ve made progress.”

The president attributed inflation to issues such as supply chains and Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, while Republican lawmakers attribute the surge in prices to the $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief that Democrat Biden signed into law in 2021.

Biden utilized the council meeting to introduce 30 measures to improve access to medicine and essential economic data, as well as other programs linked to the production and shipment of goods. He stated that he was addressing “junk fees,” which are concealed charges that companies include in bills without any alternative for customers.

The council follows a previous task force established to address supply chain issues that contributed to higher inflation in 2021 as the United States recovered from the pandemic. On a yearly basis, the consumer price index peaked at 9.1% in June 2022, but inflation has since decreased to a moderate 3.2%, which has not yet improved U.S. adults’ feelings about the economy.

Biden criticized GOP policies, asserting that Republicans intend to reduce investments he has made in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. He also accused companies of taking advantage of inflation to bolster profits through “price gouging.”

Among the 30 new measures, Biden will utilize the Defense Production Act to have the Health and Human Services Department invest in domestic manufacturing of essential medicines for national security. The Department has designated $35 million to invest in the production of materials for injectable medicines.

Moreover, the federal government will enhance its monitoring of supply chains by facilitating data sharing among agencies. The Commerce Department has developed new tools to evaluate supply chain risks and has partnered with the Energy Department on renewable energy resource supply. Shipping companies are also starting to adopt new data resources from the Transportation Department on freight logistics.

The supply chain group is co-chaired by Lael Brainard, the White House National Economic Council director, and Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser. Other members include heads of Cabinet departments, the U.S. trade representative, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and the directors of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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