- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2022

President Biden on Thursday called the Senate Democrats’ $433 billion climate and energy package “a giant step forward” for the U.S.

He said the legislation, made possible by a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin III to force the bill through in a party-line vote, would jumpstart Democrats’ plans to rebuild America.

“With this legislation, we’re facing up to some of our biggest problems,” Mr. Biden said from the State Dining Room at the White House. “It will be the most important investment — not hyperbole — the most important investment we’ve ever made in our energy security and developing cost-saving and job-creating clean energy solutions for the future.”

The $433 billion deal struck by Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, includes $369 billion for climate and energy measures over the next decade, drawing praise from environmentalists.

Republicans called it frivolous.

The talks between the two Democrats were believed to have died weeks ago when Mr. Manchin, who is from a major coal- and natural gas-producing state, said he would not support new spending because of inflation concerns.

SEE ALSO: Biden’s Democrats told to listen to Obama’s warning not to raise taxes during a recession

The deal announced Wednesday mirrors what Mr. Manchin said he would not support, including increased taxes on large corporations and the wealthy.

The breakthrough on the long-stalled bill adds to Mr. Biden‘s legislative successes over the past week, with the House poised to give final approval to a long-stalled $280 billion technology bill, which includes a $52 billion payout to chip manufacturers.

The president’s success on Capitol Hill, however, has been dampened by sobering economic figures.

Second-quarter GDP dropped 0.9%, putting the U.S. in recession territory with a second straight quarter of economic contraction.

First-quarter GDP contracted at an annual rate of 1.6%.

Some economists adhere to an informal definition of a recession as two straight quarters of negative growth.

The White House has pointed to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s definition of recession which includes indicators beyond GDP growth or decline.

Mr. Biden said he is unsurprised by the worse-than-expected gross domestic product figures reported Thursday and offered assurances that the U.S. economy is on the right path.

The president remained defiant in his address, saying his success on the hill will further reduce inflationary pressures.

“We have a record job market, record unemployment of 3.6% today,” he said. “We have created 9 million new jobs so far just since I’ve become president. Businesses are investing in America at record rates.”

“That doesn’t sound like recession to me,” Mr. Biden said.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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