President Joe Biden signed his infrastructure bill into law on Monday afternoon, but his Build Back Better legislation remains in jeopardy as his popularity continues to plummet.
The House is now preparing to take up part two of his so-called infrastructure plan, the $1.75 trillion social spending plan, but can he get the political support he needs as an increasingly unpopular president?
Biden's approval rating stands at 41%, the lowest of his presidency. Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy, and if the midterm elections were held today, Americans would vote 51% Republican and only 41% Democrat, the widest margin since 1981.
Meanwhile, inflation is the highest in 30 years, 6.2%. In a poignant sign of the times, even Dollar Tree has announced it will be raising prices on some items by as much as $1.50.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says it's the pandemic, and not all the big-spending in Washington, that has fueled inflation. “The pandemic has been calling shots for the economy and for inflation, and if we want to get inflation down, continuing progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do,” said Yellen.
Biden's economic advisor, Brian Deese says passing the expensive, almost $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation is key to fighting inflation, which is exactly opposite from standard economic thinking.
"This more than anything will go at the costs Americans face. You talk about healthcare, one of the biggest costs American families face, this will lower prescription drug costs, put a cap on prescription drug costs for our seniors,” said Deese.
Economist Stephen Moore says no, that won't lower inflation.
“This is kind of a laughable claim by the Biden administration,” said Moore. "I think anyone with a junior high school education knows when you print more money and borrow more money, trillions of dollars, that's going to make inflation worse, not better.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says Biden's giant social spending will be passed by the House this week, but the White House needed 19 Republicans to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and so far, no Republicans support this latest bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says that West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin and fellow moderate Democratic Sen. Kirsten Synema of Arizona will have a say. Both have opposed the high price tag of the spending bill.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is urging the White House to tap the strategic petroleum reserve, to help bring down gasoline prices.