Joe Biden

Remarks on Efforts To Combat Inflation and an Exchange With Reporters

January 12, 2023

The President. Good morning. Sorry I'm a little late. And I'm due at the—please, have a seat—the National Cathedral at a little after 11.

But good morning. Today we've got some good news, good news about the economy. For the sixth month in a row, inflation has come down. Measured over the last 12 months, it has fallen 6.5—to 6.5 percent. That's down from 7.1 percent the month before. And it's down from 9.1 percent this summer. Inflation is now at its lowest level since October of 2021.

When we look at the—just the last 3 months, we see that inflation fell to 1.8 percent on an annualized basis. It's down from more than 11 percent in the first 3 months of last year.

So the data is clear: Even though inflation is high in major economies around the world, it is coming down in America month after month, giving families some real breathing room. And the big reason is falling gas prices.

My administration took action to get oil onto the market and bring down prices. Now gas is down more than $1.70 from its peak. And that adds up to a family with—a typical family with two vehicles to a savings of $180 a month, every single month, that stays in their pockets instead of being spent at the pump.

Food inflation is slowing as well. Last month, we saw the smallest increase in food prices in almost 2 years. And much of that increase was due to the avian flu outbreak, which has driven up the egg prices around—in the United States.

It's not just gas and food prices though. When we look at what economists call "core inflation," which takes out energy and food, we see welcome news as well. Core inflation is down to the lowest level in a year. Over the past 3 months, core inflation has come down to 3 percent on an annualized basis. That's down from more than 6 percent at the beginning of 2022. The cost of goods is actually falling as prices for everything from computers to used cars are coming down as well. And inflation in the core services is moderating as well.

You know, and as inflation is coming down, take-home pay for workers is going up. Workers' wages are higher now than they were 7 months ago, adjusted for inflation. Wages for lower-income and middle-income workers have gone up even more.

It all adds up to a real break for consumers, real breathing room for families, and more proof that my economic plan is working.

When I came into office almost 2 years ago, the economy was flat on its back, as you'll all remember. Millions of people had lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Millions—millions—who kept their jobs saw the hours and paychecks cut. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses permanently closed their doors.

People were hurting badly. That's what we inherited. The pandemic was raging, and the economy was reeling. We acted decisively to put in place a new strategy that would build a rescue—would rescue the economy from the pandemic downturn. At the same time, we laid the foundation for a stronger, more resilient economy for decades to come, an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out.

Now, 2 years in, it's clear—clearer than ever that my economic plan is actually working. Here's what we've learned just last week. Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 50 years. I'll say that again: the lowest unemployment rate in a half a century.

My first 2 years in office were the 2 strongest years for job growth on record. We created nearly 11 million jobs, including 750,000 manufacturing jobs. And they were the 2 of the strongest years ever for small-business creation as well.

And today, unemployment rate is near record lows for Blacks and Hispanic—Black and Hispanic workers, near record lows. And it's the lowest ever on record for people with disabilities.

We're seeing American families breathing a little easier. More Americans have health insurance than they did ever in our history. Fewer families are facing foreclosures today than before the pandemic.

And we still have more work to do though, but we're clearly moving in the right direction. And there are more—there's more breathing room in store for American workers and families.

Starting last week, as of January 1, a month's supply of insulin is now capped at $35 for seniors on Medicare. Some were paying hundreds of dollars every month for their insulin, but not anymore. Starting last week, if Big Pharma raises prices faster than inflation, they're going to face big penalties.

Starting last week, Americans can get tax credits when they install energy-efficient appliances in their homes, like heat pumps or solar panels, or when they buy electric vehicles.

These were all pieces of what—that big law that we passed last year. Now, they're kicking in and Americans are starting to feel the benefits in their everyday lives.

But that's not all. We're seeing historic investments in American manufacturing turn into new factories and new jobs from Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, New York.

Companies have announced nearly $300 billion in manufacturing investments here in the United States since I became President. Instead of exporting jobs, like we did for decades, we're now creating jobs and exporting product. Creating jobs and exporting product, that's the idea.

Now, the House has elected a new Speaker. I called to congratulate him, and I'm ready to work with him or any Republican in Congress to make progress on the American—on the—for the American people.

But like many Americans, I was disappointed that the very first bill the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed would help wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes at the expense of ordinary, middle class taxpayers. And it would add $114 billion to the deficit. Their very first bill.

House Republicans campaigned on inflation. They didn't say, if elected, their plan was to make inflation worse.

Plus, House Republicans introduced another bill: blocking action that would help lower gas prices and help consumers.

And on top of that, House Republicans are preparing to vote on a national sales tax bill. National sales tax, that's a great idea. It would raise taxes on the middle class by taxing thousands of everyday items from groceries to gas, while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

And if I'm not mistaken, what they've introduced—it also would totally eliminate the IRS. It feels good, except all going to be sales tax. Go home and tell your moms. They're going to be really excited about that.

Come on. Is this how House Republicans are starting the new term: cutting taxes for billionaires, raising taxes for working families, and making inflation worse?

Well, let me be very clear: If any of these bills make it to my desk, I will veto them. I will flat veto them. I'm ready to work with Republicans, but not this kind of stuff.

If they try to cut Social Security or Medicare, which Americans have been paying into with every paycheck since they have ever have had—got their first paycheck, I'll use my veto pen to stop that as well.

But if Republicans want to work together on real solutions to lower inflation, create more jobs, build an economy that works for everyone, I'm ready.

Let me close with this. Today's inflation numbers are good news—good news about our economy. And we have more work to do, but we're on the right track.

We're seeing bright spots across the country where great things are happening. Roads and bridges are being built. Factories are coming on line. People back to work again. Families breathing a little bit easier.

That's why I can honestly say—and you're heard me say this before and I mean it from the bottom of my heart—I've never been more optimistic about America's future than I am today.

We just have to remember who in God's name we are. You've heard me say it many times: This is the United States of America. There's nothing—nothing—beyond our capacity if we work together.

So God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.

Q. Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President—thank you, sir. Mr. President——

[At this point, several reporters began asking questions at once.]

The President. Okay.

The President's Storage of Classified Documents From the Obama Administration

Q. Mr. President, classified—classified material next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?

The President. Let me—they're—I'm going to get a chance to speak on all this, God willing, soon, but as I said earlier this week, people—and by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. Okay? So it's not like they're sitting out in the street. But at any rate——

Q. So the material was in a locked garage?

The President. Yes, as well as my Corvette.

But as I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department's review.

As part of that process, my lawyers reviewed other places where documents might have—from my time as Vice President were stored. And they finished the review last night.

They discovered a small number of documents of classified markings in storage areas in file cabinets in my home and my—in my personal library. This was done in the case of the Biden Penn—this was done in the case of the Biden Penn Center.

The Department of Justice was immediately—as was done, the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of the document.

So you're going to see—we're going to see all this unfold. I'm confident——

Q. When did you find there was a second batch of documents?

[Several reporters began speaking at once.]

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Q. How's your wife?

The President. Hey, how you doing? Good to see you!

First Lady Jill T. Biden

Q. How's your wife?

The President. She's good.

Q. How is the First Lady, sir? How is the First Lady?

The President. She's doing really well. She was under a long time—for 5 hours—because what they were doing is they take out—they do the Mohs, meaning remove what they thought what might be cancerous—and they have to then go back and test it and see what it was. But she's doing really well.

She's up. We had a—we had breakfast this morning. She's recovering. And she's going to be sore for a while because of the work they did on her eyes. And—but under—you know, that's where one of these—these were. But she has a—0 to 1 percent chance of ever—the return of any cancer.

And so, thank God, she's doing really well. Thank you for asking.

[Several reporters continued asking questions at the same time.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:42 a.m. in the South Court Auditorium of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In his remarks, he referred to Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin O. McCarthy.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on Efforts To Combat Inflation and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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