Economic Adviser Bernstein: Biden Remains Confident on Build Back Better

Economic Adviser Bernstein: Biden Remains Confident on Build Back Better Economic Adviser Bernstein: Biden Remains Confident on Build Back Better

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 31 December 2021 02:20 PM

President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., were back to talking about the $1.8 trillion "Build Back Better" the day after the senator declared he would not vote for the measure as it was, and the administration is confident that the measure is not dead, Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday.

"President Biden, who I have worked for many years — I was his economist when he was vice president — has a habit of pulling legislative rabbits out of hats, and he has done so many times," Bernstein said on CNN's "New Day." "He is not over by any means or done fighting for Build Back Better. When I've talked to him about it, he has confidence about that including discussions he has had Sen. Manchin."

Manchin, whose vote is crucial to passing the bill in the party-tied Senate, said earlier this month that he couldn't agree with its costs, but Bernstein said Friday the measure will help ease the effects of inflation on the nation's families by helping them pay for child care, education, and more.

"The president and Sen. Manchin, the day after the announcement where the senator said he couldn't vote for the bill as it was, they were talking again," said Bernstein. "We are confident we can continue to work on delivering this essential relief to the American people."

Bernstein also defended the president's record on the economy, pointing out that there are 11 million job openings nationwide, with 6 million of those created since Biden took office a year ago next month.

"Those are both historical records," said Bernstein. "One of the reasons that is the case is because of shots in arms and checks in pockets. When we got to the White House, less than 1% of adults were vaccinated. Now it's over 70%."

He agreed that more people must be vaccinated, as vaccinations and booster sots are "essential to keeping this progress going."

"When you have these different strains and the kind of uncertainty that brings with it, people will feel unsettled," he said. "I think the thing we have tried to do is communicate that whatever problem we face, whether it's COVID, inflation, we're going to work relentlessly on behalf of working Americans to do everything we can to ease those pressures."

The administration is also focusing on alleviating the nation's supply chain.

"One source of this inflation is the demand for durable goods, things like computers, exercise equipment, and furniture," said Bernstein. "When the pandemic hit, people ratcheted up their demand for those kinds of goods and pulled back on in-person services. That was going to disrupt supply chains."

He also pointed out that gas prices have started to go back down after Biden released petroleum reserves from the United States and coordinated the release from other countries.

"At the same time, people talked about how Christmas was going to be a bust because goods were not going to flow through ports," said Bernstein. "Our reports have shown real results in terms of getting the goods from ship to shelf and helping Americans have the kind of holiday season they were hoping for in that regard."

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