President Biden, who was unwelcome on the battlefield in many states during the final two weeks of the midterm elections, spoke from the White House on Thursday about his latest effort to ease the economic burden many Americans face.
With voters’ concerns about inflation and gas prices boosting Republicans as early voting kicks off in many states, Biden announced his administration is cracking down on surprise fees that increase what people pay to their banks and for everything else, from food deliveries to hotels and airline tickets.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Biden said, would immediately prohibit banks from imposing surprise fees on some overdrafts and deposits.
“These steps will immediately save Americans billions of dollars in unfair fees,” Biden said, explaining that the White House Competition Council, which has been studying the issue of surprise fees for months, is developing additional rules for credit card companies and other industries that hide fees. for consumers.
The fees, he said, “take real money out of American families’ pockets” and “benefit big business, not consumers, not working families. That’s changing now.”
Biden, who will travel to New York state on Thursday and hold a fundraising drive in Philadelphia on Friday, has largely avoided campaigning with Democratic candidates in the House and Senate races that will determine control of Congress. On a four-day trip up the West Coast earlier this month, he skipped Arizona and Nevada, where Democratic incumbents are fighting to hold out. He will hold a rally next week in Florida, a state where few Democratic officials believe their party has a real chance of winning the Senate or the governor’s race. With Election Day fast approaching, he will be off the track for the second consecutive weekend, spending time at home in Delaware.
It’s not uncommon for the incumbent president to pressure his party in his first by-election, and Biden’s approval score remains low in the 40s amid widespread frustrations over his inability to curb inflation. At his surprise fee event, Biden spoke about the matter, claiming that the economic situation is improving.
“By the way, the price of gasoline continues to fall,” he said, pointing out that gas prices have fallen for three weeks in a row. “The most common price in America right now is $3.49 a gallon.”
Biden’s latest effort to address economic fears that could tip the election toward Republicans came just hours after what could become a defining moment in a Senate race that many expect to determine which party will take the chamber next year. checks.
In Tuesday night’s debate between candidates for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman struggled to articulate his answers clearly because of aphasia following a major stroke he suffered in May. If the hour-long debate heightens voters’ concerns about Fetterman’s ability to serve, Republican Mehmet Oz could take a win in a race that left him with double digits just a few months ago.
While scatter polls and high early turnout make it difficult to predict how the election will end, both sides seem to see the battle in Pennsylvania as the tipping point race that will determine who controls the Senate. Interestingly, Pennsylvania is also the only state where Biden, who has Scranton roots, campaigned on the ground.
Under some criticism for focusing his midterm appeals on Democrats’ legislative achievements over the past two years, Biden sought to convey greater understanding of the hardships many face. As he wrapped up his comments, he gave an assessment of why people are fed up.
“One of the things that I think frustrates American people is that they know the world is a little confused,” he said. “They Know That” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war has put enormous pressure on Europe and the rest of the world,” he continued, pointing to the impact on energy prices and food. “And they want to know, what are we doing?”
His government’s actions on surprise compensation, he said, would save families hundreds of dollars a year. And he promised to continue urging oil companies to pass on their savings to consumers now that oil prices have fallen.
“I am optimistic,” he said. ‘It will take a while. And I appreciate the frustration of the American people.”