President Biden attempted to reassure Americans afflicted by rising inflation on Friday that his government was trying to reduce health care prices, pledging a community college crowd in Southern California that he would do more.
But his comments in Irvine, California, the first of two West Coast lectures focused to health care prices, came just days after official statistics indicated that overall inflation remained high as Americans prepare to cast ballots in early November midterm elections.
According to surveys, Americans are very irritated by the effect of drastically rising costs on their wallets. The majority of observers think that the Democrats will lose control of one or both houses of Congress, which would be a rebuke to the president and his party.
Mr. Biden said, in front of a receptive crowd, that if the Republicans seized control, prices would rise. He underlined their hostility to his attempts to enable Medicare to negotiate prescription pricing, which he said would push prices for millions of older citizens’ medications down. In addition, he said the Democrats had imposed price limitations on essential medications such as insulin.
Mr. Biden, standing in front of posters that read “Lowering Expenses for American Families,” stated: “If the Republicans in Congress have their way, the authority we recently granted Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and other costs over time would be revoked – revoked.” “The $2,000 restriction on prescription medications is eliminated – gone. Medicare’s limit of $35 per month for insulin is no longer in effect.”
Mr. Biden’s three-state, four-day tour is also meant to help Democratic candidates by highlighting the party’s achievements from the presidential bully pulpit. On Wednesday in Colorado, Obama appeared with one of the state’s two Democratic senators, Michael Bennet, to announce the creation of a new national monument — a crucial campaign pledge for the beleaguered legislator.
Mr. Biden praised the use of funds from his infrastructure package to help construct a new subway line in Los Angeles on Thursday. During his speech, Obama made sure to pick out Democratic Representative Karen Bass, who had campaigned for a clause that distributes project employment to local employees.
Mr. Biden focused his attention at the Irvine community college on health care and on Representative Katie Porter, a two-term Democrat seeking re-election in an important Orange County swing seat.
Ms. Porter, who is running against former Republican state assemblyman Scott Baugh, advocated for the drug price proposal. Mr. Biden singled her out during the Friday gathering, attributing the success of Democratic legislation to her work on behalf of her people.
Friday’s gathering at Irvine Valley Community College was not a campaign rally, but rather an official one. Ms. Porter, though, used her time at the stage to attack Republicans.
She said that every single Republican in Washington voted against patients, families, and taxpayers. “Republican senators in the Senate voted to restrict how much Americans may save on prescription medications and to prohibit all patients from receiving insulin. And House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has stated that it would be a top goal of his next term to restore Big Pharma’s unfettered ability to charge whatever prices it pleases.
She referred to this action as a “slap in the face” to the Californians she represents.
Republicans attempted to depict the president’s attempts to boost the chances of candidates as futile. “Joe Biden is the last person Democrat candidates want to see on the campaign trail,” said Michael McAdams, communications director for the National Republican Campaign Committee, after the event, citing reports that Democrats recently shifted money away from some California districts to candidates who need assistance more.
“His policies are so unpopular “House Democrats are compelled to forsake expenditures in California districts he won by double-digit margins,” said Mr. McAdams.
Mr. Biden was due to travel to Portland, Oregon on Friday evening, a liberal city where the Democratic Party would typically not require the assistance of the current president. But Mr. Biden hopes to assist Tina Kotek, the Democratic candidate for governor, improve her chances.
Polls indicate that Ms. Kotek is in a close three-way battle with Christine Drazan, the Republican candidate, and Betsy Johnson, a former Democrat backed by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The state has not elected a Republican governor in decades. The White House hopes that Mr. Biden’s visit will reinforce the party’s commitment to her.
Republicans anticipated that the president’s vacation would not hinder their party from winning the state’s highest electoral office.
Ms. Price said, “This last-ditch attempt by national Democrats is evidence of their panic as they watch Christine Drazan seize control of once-deeply blue Oregon, which is eager for change.”