New Dems Roll Out Sweeping Inflation Action Plan

June 8, 2022 by Natalie McCormick
New Dems Roll Out Sweeping Inflation Action Plan

WASHINGTON — The New Democrat Coalition released an Inflation Action Plan Wednesday, urging their colleagues in Congress and the Biden administration to take further, pragmatic steps to ease the financial pressures on American families.  

In doing so, the coalition acknowledged the steps that have already been taken to right the economy, such as aggressively addressing supply chain snafus and bringing more people into the workforce, but said obviously more work needs to be done to tackle an inflation rate that has risen 8.3% over the last three months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We’ve seen record-setting economic growth, millions of Americans are vaccinated, kids are back in school, and people are back at work,” said New Dem Chair Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., in a written statement. 

“But despite this progress, real economic challenges remain, and global inflation is hitting American families hard. That’s why the New Democrat Coalition created an Inflation Action Plan that outlines key actions Congress and the Biden administration can take to ensure Americans can afford everyday necessities — like food and gas,” she said. 

The 24-page plan unveiled Wednesday calls for Congress and the administration to, among other things:

  • Support supply chain resilience and domestic businesses through financial assistance, data sharing, and a new office within the U.S. Department of Commerce to oversee these efforts.
  • Diversify and strengthen global supply chains in coordination with our allies and close trading partners.
  • Allocate $52 billion in funding to increase domestic advanced manufacturing of critical semiconductors, which are integral to the supply of in-demand products and technologies, such as household appliances, cars and trucks, and clean energy technologies.
  • Invest in next-generation basic and applied scientific research and development.
  • Enact H.R. 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, to crack down on rising shipping costs and boost farmers’ and exporters’ ability to get their goods to the global marketplace.
  • Enact H.R. 3635, the Strengthening America’s Strategic Stockpile Act, which would strengthen the national stockpile of critical supplies and medicines to ensure we can respond to future emergencies. 
  • Invest in workforce development and career-oriented education to improve pipelines for in-demand industries, including housing, clean energy and utilities, and transportation and trucking.
  • Pass H.R. 2784, the STEM Restoring Employment Skills through Targeted Assistance, Re-entry, and Training Act, to allow mid-career workers to return to or transition into the STEM workforce.
  • Enact policies to value skills-based careers over degrees by reorienting postsecondary education to prepare workers with career-ready skills, investing in community colleges, increasing pathways to two-year degrees, improving credentialing and promoting lifelong learning.
  • Enact provisions in the House-passed bipartisan innovation bill, the America COMPETES Act, to establish a new startup and entrepreneur visa program, bolster apprenticeships, exempt immigrants with PhDs in a STEM field from green card limits, invest $250M in the future STEM workforce, and promote workforce development through data collection and other investments.
  • Enact the House-passed bills, H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, to increase legal immigration and bolster the U.S. economy and workforce.
  • Enact a well-targeted enhanced Child Tax Credit (H.R. 928, the American Family Act of 2021), to provide financial assistance to families to afford fundamental needs.
  • Lower health care costs and expanding health care coverage by extending the enhanced premium tax credits and fixing the Medicaid gap.
  • Enact the House-passed H.R. 6833, the Affordable Insulin Now Act, to cap insulin costs at $35 per month.
  • Extend deadlines for states to spend American Rescue Plan funding over a longer period of time so states can enact more sustainable spending plans.
  • Work with farmers and ranchers to identify additional opportunities to produce more food in America and bring down prices.
  • Consider policies to spur more competition in the food production, processing and distribution sectors.
  • Reform crop insurance to better cover all agricultural products and to provide farmers with certainty and incentives to produce more food.
  • Suspend trade barriers that are limiting the supply of food.
  • Extend cost-saving American Rescue Plan nutrition assistance and flexibility, including enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan benefits that expire at the end of September.
  • Enact legislation to extend school and summer meal flexibilities to ensure no child goes hungry. 

In addition to the formal rollout of their plan, the New Democrat Coalition also sent letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and President Joe Biden, asking them to embrace the group’s strategy. 

In the letter to Pelosi and Hoyer, the coalition asked that House Democrats “fight hard for our priorities in the conference committee in order to reach a final agreement before the end of the June work period.” 

They also urged Congress and Biden to reach “an agreement on a reconciliation bill” that will fight inflation, including ways to lower costs that could help relieve Americans of this ongoing problem. 

Alongside this, they urged members of the House to use their time productively. In the Inflation Action Plan, they reference many bills and legislative ideas that will work to fight inflation. The faster they move through the government, the more these bills will be able to positively impact the lives of many Americans, the coalition said.

In the letter to Biden, the coalition asked that he “immediately establish a comprehensive, fair, and transparent exclusion process for Chinese imports under Section 301” and to re-evaluate tariffs imposed by the Trump administration that may be harming American businesses. 

The coalition also vowed to work with the president to encourage legal immigration in the United States, which they believe will help reduce the workforce shortage, their second concern in the Inflation Action Plan. 

The United States, of course, isn’t the only country suffering from the bite of inflation. 

According to a World Bank Group Flagship Report released this week, “global growth is expected to slump from 5.7% in 2021 to 2.9% in 2022.” This is a result of the war in Ukraine and it is expected to stay this way until 2023-2024. 

In his forward to the report, David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, wrote, “Several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth are now likely, with potentially destabilizing consequences for low- and middle-income economies. 

“It’s a phenomenon — stagflation — that the world has not seen since the 1970s,” he continued.

The New Democrat Coalition’s plan is also the party’s latest attempt to contrast its agenda with that of congressional Republicans led by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.

Scott introduced an 11-point economic plan in February that, among other things, would require federal programs to expire every five years, including Social Security and Medicare, and would outright ban debt ceiling increases unless the United States is at war.

“What I want is to get back to a country that works,” Scott said of his proposal. “We have one of the lowest participation rates in the history of this country because what Biden and the Democrats want to do is they want to tell you, ‘Oh, you don’t need to work. We’ve got another government program for you.’ That doesn’t work.”

Democrats have said the Scott plan would raise federal income taxes on many Americans making less than $100,000 while leaving the wealthy unscathed.

In his Wall Street Journal op-ed published earlier this month, Biden went further, saying the Scott plan “would make American families poorer and more economically insecure.”

In addition to its plan, the coalition has also formed an Inflation Working Group, to, in the words of Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., “find concrete solutions to address this urgent challenge and an action plan with innovative ideas and steps to lower costs for families.” 

“The challenge is great, but so is the opportunity. New Dems look forward to leading the charge on this plan to make a difference in Americans’ lives and to invest in the long-term economic success of our nation,” Peters said. 

Natalie can be reached at [email protected] and @nataliemcc212

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  • inflation
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