U.S. President Joe Biden does not want to dwell too long on the latest economic report, which showed that the country is in the midst of a recession. He has instructed his team to instead focus on the necessary legislative actions to fight the raging inflation.
The goal was to emphasize the positive aspects of the report, which was done in response to the political tensions that are currently playing out in the country. Republican members of Congress are warning that the country is already in a recession, which Biden and other Democrats have claimed is not the case.
The report was also viewed as a reflection of the Biden administration's constant push-and-pull strategy. The news cycle quickly moves on to the next story, whenever a victory can be overshadowed by a setback. Dueling narratives about the country emerged during the press briefing.
The report also showed the government's lack of action to address the country's economic problems. According to Republicans, the economy contracted for the second quarter, which was evidence of a "Biden recession."
Despite the negative economic report, Biden noted that the country is still in a relatively good position. He cited the low unemployment rate and the continued increase in business investment as signs of the country's recovery.
President Biden also noted that the recent actions taken by Congress showed the country's progress. He celebrated the approval of a $280 billion package to boost the semiconductor industry and the passage of several other measures.
Other White House officials also tried to play down the report. The economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.9%.
Can't wait to hear the White House Press Secretary simultaneously blame Putin for recession... and at the same time say we have the "best economic numbers in history."— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 25, 2022
Debate on U.S. economy
Brian Deese, the head of the White House's National Economic Council, noted that the country is on the verge of doing something significant to put the economy back on track. He said that the president was focused on the various legislative actions to help keep the country back on track.
"Where we are right now is we're on the cusp of doing really historic things that would help move the ball forward on the economy," Deese said. "That's our focus."
In response to a question, Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, noted that Americans are still concerned about inflation. Despite the political tensions, she did not dispute the notion that the country is in a recession.
Yellen avoided using a semantic battle to describe the country's economic situation. According to her, Americans' most significant concern is inflation, and they are still optimistic about their job security.
Despite the negative economic report, the treasury secretary maintained that the country's growth was "slowing" instead of shrinking, as the GDP data suggested.
Yellen noted that the economy's slowdown was positive for the recovery as it allowed the country to return to a more normal state following the pandemic.
The debate continued to develop on the semiconductor bill and new drug pricing policy, which is awaiting Biden's signature. The administration argues that the two bills dubbed the "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022," would help combat inflation. On the other hand, Republicans claim that the measures would increase prices.
Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, accused the administration of failing to address the country's economic problems. He noted that the country was in a recession because of the actions of the Democrats.