Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the “heavy weight” that surging inflation is placing on Americans on Friday, but told reporters that President Joe Biden’s spending agenda will not make the situation worse.
Harris made the statement in response to questions from a pre-approved list of reporters during a Friday press briefing. Harris has spent much of the week in France on a trip widely seen as an attempt from the Biden administration to smooth over relations with French President Emmanuel Macron. Relations with France turned cold earlier this year when Australia cut off a submarine manufacturing deal with France in favor of one with the U.S. and U.K.
“Can you tell us a little bit about how you would prevent the new spending in your Build Back Better agenda from exacerbating the problem, and also what else are you going to do to fix this problem with inflation?” a reporter asked.
“Let’s start with this: Prices have gone up, and families and individuals are dealing with the realities that bread costs more, that gas costs more. We have to understand what that means. That’s about the cost of living going up,” Harris responded. “That is, on a daily level, something that is a heavy wait to carry, So it is something we take very seriously. Very seriously.”
Harris went on to say inflation is a “big deal” and that the Biden administration has sought to address rising costs by alleviating supply chain backlogs in the U.S. Nevertheless, the U.S. is still suffering from the highest inflation in 30 years. Harris also argued that the Biden agenda will not contribute to further inflation because it is paid for.
“Build Back Better is not going to cost anything. We’re paying for it,” Harris said.
Biden and numerous other White House officials have repeatedly claimed that his spending plan “costs zero dollars” thanks to the pay-fors included in the bill. Watchdog organizations have disagreed, however. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Biden’s agenda will require the U.S. to borrow roughly $2.4 trillion, while the tax hikes included in the bill would only cover for $1.1 trillion. (RELATED: Biden Defends His Administration’s Record Amid Low Approval Numbers, Multiple Crises)
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged calls from moderate Democrats in Congress for an official cost analysis of President Joe Biden’s spending plans on Nov. 4. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not released an official analysis of what Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar spending plan would cost in the long run.
“The Build Back Better Act is paid for by having big corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers pay their fair share,” Jean-Pierre said at the time.