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Biden says inflation is top priority after meeting with Fed Chair Jerome Powell

The president said that the Federal Reserve will play a key role in lowering the highest inflation in decades but that he wouldn’t “interfere with their critically important work.”
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met on Tuesday with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to discuss the administration's plan to combat high inflation, which Biden said has become his top domestic priority.

Biden said the Federal Reserve will play a key role in bringing down the highest inflation rates in decades, but that he wouldn't "interfere with their critically important work."

"My plan to address inflation starts with the simple proposition: Respect the Fed, respect the Fed's independence, which I have done and will continue to do," Biden told reporters during the meeting with Powell, who was confirmed this month to a second term as Fed chair.

Ahead of the meeting, the White House said Biden planned to speak with Powell about "the state of the American and global economy, and the president’s top economic priority: addressing inflation as we transition from a historic economic recovery to stable, steady growth that works for working families."

Biden's meeting with Powell in the Oval Office came as he wrestles with a low approval rating and criticism from Republicans, who blame him for the economy's troubles. The president, however, has pointed to the war in Ukraine and supply chain issues for rising prices for gas and other necessities.

The meeting also took place about five months before November's midterm elections, as voters say inflation and the economy are their top concerns.

In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal on Monday laying out his plan to fight inflation, Biden said the Federal Reserve "has a primary responsibility to control inflation."

Biden said his plan calls on Congress to revise the tax code, reduce the deficit, make housing more affordable and lower prescription drug costs. He also said Congress could help immediately by passing clean energy tax credits and investments he’s proposed.

Those measures currently lack enough support in Congress, which isn't expected to take any action on them before the midterm elections.

"A dozen CEOs of America’s largest utility companies told me earlier this year that my plan would reduce the average family’s annual utility bills by $500 and accelerate our transition from energy produced by autocrats," Biden wrote. "We can also reduce the cost of everyday goods by fixing broken supply chains, improving infrastructure, and cracking down on the exorbitant fees that foreign ocean freight companies charge to move products."

Biden also said in the op-ed that the U.S. needs to continue reducing the federal deficit to help ease prices, which he said can be done through his proposals to change the tax code.

"The Internal Revenue Service should have the resources to collect taxes that Americans already owe," he wrote. "We should level the international taxation playing field so companies no longer have an incentive to shift jobs and profits overseas. And we should end the outrageous unfairness in the tax code that allows a billionaire to pay lower rates than a teacher or firefighter."

To fight inflation rates that have reached 40-year highs, the Federal Reserve raised its core interest rate in early May by 0.5 percent, which was its second hike in two months and the largest increase since 2000.