Dems push Biden to act on food prices with inflation ranking as top issue ahead of election

May 14, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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Dozens of Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to President Biden, pleading with him to act on high grocery prices that have been slow to fall as inflation has come down

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., led the letter Monday morning, calling on Biden to “exercise your executive authority to take additional action to address rising food prices without congressional action.”

The letter amassed 40 Democratic signatories between the House and Senate, including senators Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and representatives Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., among others. 

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The lawmakers acknowledged “Americans are facing sky-high food prices.” 

Notably, grocery prices have not fallen at the same rate as inflation. This is “caused by excessive price gouging by food and grocery giants,” the Democrats claimed. 

Democrats asked Biden to direct his administration’s Department of Justice to “prosecute actors in the agricultural and food sectors for pricefixing and other anticompetitive behavior” and task the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with creating a joint task force with the purpose of investigating the manipulation of food prices. 

“Our letter is about pointing out areas that exist in the law but have long been underused,” Warren told Time magazine in an interview. “Now is the perfect moment to move.”

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White House spokesman Jeremy Edwards said in a statement to Fox News Digital, “It is an outrage that large corporations refuse to pass savings for staples like eggs, milk and fish on to their customers.”

According to him, Biden “is working with every tool at his disposal to lower grocery costs for families and to lower costs across the board,” adding that “fighting inflation and price gouging are his top priorities.”

However, the White House did not say whether he plans to specifically take the actions requested by congressional Democrats in the letter.

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Democratic strategist Brad Bannon noted the significance of this request of Biden from fellow Democrats. 

“Inflation is the biggest speed bump on President Biden’s road to a new lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Bannon claimed. 

“Joe Biden is not a populist by nature, but it’s time for him to call out the food giants like Publix for gouging the American public in the pursuit of enormous profits.” 

Bannon pointed to polls he said “indicate that voters are hostile to corporate greed pursued by grocery chains and oil companies.” Therefore, he said, “It’s time for the president to channel Bernie Sanders and go after the conglomerates hard.”

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Despite inflation finally beginning to cool, which Biden’s administration has highlighted, inflation still ranks as the most important issue for Americans in the months leading up to the 2024 election. According to a March Gallup survey, 55% of Americans said they worry “a great deal” about inflation. 

Biden may not be able to avoid being blamed for high prices at the ballot box in November, according to GOP strategist David Kochel. 

“Voters already found someone to blame, and it’s Biden. Like it or not, he owns the economic angst,” he said. “It’s why his numbers have been in the toilet for two years now.”

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