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President Joe Biden speaking at the 29th AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 14. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.
President Joe Biden speaking at the 29th AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 14. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Biden comes to Philly trying to flip script on presidency, U.S. economy

The President was in town speaking at the 29th AFL-CIO Convention, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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President Joe Biden definitely had bigger plans when entering office back in January 2021, but that didn’t stop him from trying to be optimistic about the future of his presidency in a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 14.

“We’re moving forward,” was one of the main messages the president tried to impart despite all the current difficulties.

Biden was speaking at the 29th AFL-CIO Convention, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, to a crowd of union leaders and workers.

They sat at the center of his dialogue, which touched on everything from his administration’s achievements — mainly the American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — to where it’s been stonewalled by a gridlocked Congress.

It’s a stalemate the president said was created by a Republican Party he believes to still very much be under the influence of former President Donald Trump. 

When it came to issues, the biggest of the day was inflation, which saw a 40-year high of 8.6% in May 2022. Biden again, laid blame at the feet of the gridlocked Congress and Trump-influenced Republicans that refuse to negotiate any of the potential solutions the president said he has included in some of his initiatives that remain unpassed or were cut from previously-passed legislation.

In the face of market inflation, Biden said his efforts focus on reducing prices elsewhere when it can.

One effort so far denied by Congress is an August 2021 request to lower prescription drug prices. In response, the U.S. House passed a bill that would lower the price of insulin to $35 a month, but it never made it beyond the Senate. It happened again at the end of March 2022, but no action has been taken since. Per a Kaiser Family Foundation report from 2020, insulin costs range between $334 and $1,000 a month for those that need it. 

It was insulin prices that were the focus of the portion of Biden’s speech on Tuesday that focused on lowering prescription drug costs, which also involved strengthening Medicare.

“My plan gives Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

The president also spoke of the importance of investing in green energy to reduce costs (and grow jobs) and lowering the cost of childcare — two efforts that were part of Biden’s ill-fated Build Back Better Act that remains stagnant without the support of even all the Democrats in the Senate.

With that gridlock, Biden also took the time to pitch in support for the Senate campaign of John Fetterman, whose win in November could help tip the balance further in favor of Democrats to pass more of Biden’s agenda.

But that’s assuming things in other places go the Democrats’ way, which is still up in the air. However, history is not on their side when it comes to midterm elections and the parties in power before they happen.

Regardless, Biden ended with a challenge for his union audience to continue battling.

“I’m going to keep fighting for you, are you going to continue fighting for me?” he challenged.

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