Washington Watch: Biden talks up his efforts to tame high prices, as analysts see ‘rough’ midterm elections for him unless inflation abates

President Joe Biden on Friday is slated to deliver a speech about his efforts to address inflation, with his remarks coming as analysts predict defeats for his party in November’s midterm elections if high prices persist.

Biden was due to make remarks in the afternoon about “his recent actions to lower costs and give families more breathing room,” and he will “call on Congress to pass his plan to lower health care and energy costs,” the White House said in a statement.

The location for his speech is Washington state’s Green River College, situated in the Seattle area in the suburb of Auburn. Biden spoke earlier Friday in a Seattle park, where he marked Earth Day in part by signing an executive order that aims for better management of forests.

Read more: Biden’s Earth Day: Seattle stop brings EO on forests, caps another week of trying to revive a ‘green’ Build Back Better bill

Biden’s moves related to helping Americans deal with high prices for gasoline

and other essentials have included releases from U.S. strategic oil

reserves and allowing summer usage of gas with 15% ethanol. He’s also delivered reprieves for student-loan borrowers from monthly repayments and rolled out a fix for Obamacare’s “family glitch” in a bid to lower costs for millions.

See: Biden touts savings from summer sale of E15 gas, but analyst sees ‘no price relief’ at most pumps

Government data last week showed the U.S. rate of inflation climbed to 8.5% in March, though that could represent the peak of the worst U.S. inflation in 40 years.

Americans’ frustrations with high prices are helping to keep Biden’s approval ratings low — and giving a talking point to Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Republicans are widely expected to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in those elections, with betting market PredictIt giving an 85% chance for that outcome. The GOP is getting good odds for taking back the 50-50 Senate, too, as PredictIt puts them at 77%.

The “overwhelming consensus” is that “Democrats are in for a rough November,” said analysts at Height Capital Markets in a note on Friday. But there are ways that the party could “defy expectations,” the analysts wrote, and one of them has to do with inflation.

“There is plenty of time for the narrative to change from inflation and gridlock between now and November,” the Height team said. “If the economic situation shifts before the election, the president’s popularity could recover.”

Also read: Congress returning to brawl over COVID aid, China competition bill

U.S. stocks



were on track to close sharply lower Friday, as investors continued to weigh hawkish comments on interest rates by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell a day earlier, as well as a fresh batch of corporate earnings that largely disappointed.

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