Obama praises Biden breakthroughs on climate, drug prices and economy in rare remarks

Ex-POTUS praises historic investment in efforts to fight climate change and inflation

John Bowden
Thursday 28 July 2022 16:39 BST
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Former President Barack Obama issued a rare statement praising President Joe Biden and the Democrats for achieving a set of wins this week that could see the party pass historic legislation to fight climate change, draw down inflation, and address other issues.

Mr Obama spoke via Twitter in recognition of his former VP’s progress this week, a day after it was announced that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had struck a deal with a moderate Democrat senator, Joe Manchin, to revive parts of Mr Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

The deal’s passage is far from a certainty given the yet-unannounced position of Mr Manchin’s fellow centrist Senator Kyrsten Sinema, but it is still a major step for DC Democrats hoping for major progress on the president’s priorities before the midterms.

“This has been a big week for the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress,” Mr Obama said, before crowing that “President Biden and Democrats in Congress announced a deal that will fight inflation by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, cutting the deficit, and making the biggest investments in history to boost clean energy and tackle the climate crisis.”

He also praised Democrats for winning a compromise with Republicans on legislation to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the US, a move meant to both lower prices amid a critical shortage and break the US’s reliance on imports in that sector. Some Republicans have publicly smarted about striking that compromise only for Democrats to turn around and revive their Build Back Better legislation hours later.

“Congress is on track to pass a bipartisan bill that will lower the cost of everything from cars to consumer goods, and make us less dependent on foreign semiconductors,” Mr Obama wrote.

“I’m grateful to President Biden and those in Congress – Democrat or Republican – who are working to deliver for the American people. Progress doesn’t always happen all at once, but it does happen – and this is what it looks like,” said the former president.

The developments are far from all of what the president hoped to achieve in his first two years in office but it’s nevertheless a major breakthrough given that just a month ago the prospect of passing any legislation addressing high prescription drug prices or climate change looked firmly out of reach.

Democrats are eager for more legislative wins on Capitol Hill after suffering defeats on issues including voting rights and the original iteration of Mr Biden’s Build Back Better Act last year. The party banded with Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation pouring billions into revitalising the US’s physical infrastructure, but recent surveys have indicated that many voters don’t even know that the legislation made it into law.

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