Biden touts unexpectedly strong jobs report and movement on Senate spending bill

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(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Friday celebrated stronger than expected job growth in July as a strong economic sign as Democrats look to pass a major spending bill focused on climate, health care and tax policies.

Speaking from the Blue Room Balcony because he’s still isolation with COVID, Biden said the 528,000 jobs added in July marks 10 millions jobs created since he entered office.

“That’s the fastest job growth in history,” he said. “Today, we also matched the lowest unemployment rate in America in the last 50 years: 3.5%.”

White House officials initially prepared reporters for data indicating a slowdown in growth but the Bureau of Labor Statistics report marked a significant increase from the 372,000 jobs added in the month of June.

In marking a week of political wins, Biden also took a victory lap on lower gas prices, as costs at the pump have declined for 50 straight days.

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Still, he acknowledged that a lot of Americans are still feeling the pain of inflation.

“Now, I know people will hear today’s extraordinary jobs report and say they don’t see it, they don’t feel it in their own lives,” he conceded. “I know how hard it is. I know it’s hard to feel good about job creation when you already have a job, and you’re dealing with rising prices, food and gas and so much more.”

More relief could soon be coming, he said, from the Inflation Reduction Act — a $740 billion spending bill Democrats are looking to pass through a fast-track process known as reconciliation.

Biden homed in on provisions in the bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and provide incentives for Americans to invest in clean energy.

The president said they’re “on the cusp” of passing the legislation after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., announced Thursday she would move forward with the bill after getting a tax provision she opposed removed from the legislative text.

Sinema was the last holdout and is a critical vote as Democrats need the support of all 50 caucus members to pass the bill amid expected unanimous opposition from Republicans in the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has teed up the first vote to begin debate on the bill on Saturday afternoon.

Biden said the bill is a “game changer for working families and our economy.”

“You know, I know most families are focused on just putting three meals on the table, taking care of their kids and paying their bills,” he said. “Helping you do that is my job.”

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