The leader of the free world waded into the inflation debate yesterday, dismissing concerns that the U.S. will experience persistent inflation as the economy emerges from the global pandemic, however he did warn that the hospitality and tourism sector could take longer to recover. At a town hall in Cincinnati, he said ‘There will be near-term inflation’ but ‘it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be long-term inflation that’s going to get out of hand’.
Later, when speaking to the owner of a restaurant-group who spoke about the current difficulties in hiring, Biden said the tourism and hospitality industries may be ‘in a bind for a while’ as workers seek better pay and working conditions. ‘It really is a matter of people deciding now that they have opportunities to do other things’ adding ‘People are looking to make more money and to bargain’.
However, Biden also seemed to acknowledge the current policies of higher unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium are also dampening some people’s enthusiasm to return to work. He said once all these safety nets are taken away ‘it will be interesting to see what happens’.
His remarks came as, on Capitol Hill, Republicans thwarted a move to open the debate on a USD1.2tn bipartisan infrastructure bill that is a top priority for the President. Republicans’ main objection to the opening of the debate on the bill was because it was not yet written, though apparently, it’s not unusual for the chamber to vote on a skeleton ‘shell’ bill to move the legislative process along. Rob Portman, the leading Republican in the bipartisan group that is helping develop the plan, said 11 Republicans signed a letter saying they would be willing to vote for the bill as soon as next week. They hoped to have resolved the outstanding issues with the proposal by then, including one biggest one - how to pay for it. ‘We're voting no today, because we're not ready, but we're saying we do want to take up this bill as soon as we are. We think that'll be Monday’ Portman said before the vote.