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Biden Signs $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Into Law

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Joe Biden

Monday, the infamous infrastructure bill being debated for months was signed by President Biden. In a ceremony on the White House lawn, Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law.

“This law is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America,” Biden said in a speech prior to the signing” Biden initially said. Later in the ceremony he added, “next year will be the first year in twenty years American infrastructure investment will grow faster than China’s…We’ll once again have the best roads, bridges, ports and airports over the next decade.”

Biden and the Democrats are still attempting to pass an additional $1.75 trillion spending package to accomplish more of their agenda they could not weasel through in this bill. The infrastructure legislation “allocates $550 billion in new spending over five years towards building and repairing roads, bridges, airports, and railways, as well as funds for electric vehicles and charging stations. The bill also renews existing spending on transportation projects” reports National Review.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill will add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next ten years, in a report from August. Much of Republican opposition to the legislation has focused on its price, with Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) calling the bill “too expensive” in a video message earlier this month.”

“This is what can happen when Republicans and Democrats say we’re going to work together to get something done,” Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) said at the signing ceremony. Portman was one of 19 Republican senators who voted for the legislation in August.

“The signing comes just over a week after the House passed the bill 228-206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. The Senate passed the bill 69-30 in August.”

Initially, progressive Representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar withheld support in order to forcefully pass the reconciliation package while moderate Democrats said they would not vote for the reconciliation package until they saw an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

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Economy

National Gas Prices Could Hit $6.20 Per Gallon By August

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Gas Prices

National gas prices could surge to well over $6 per gallon by the end of the summer, according to analysts at JPMorgan.

Natasha Kaneva, head of global oil and commodities research at JPMorgan, wrote in a research document that the United States was going to face a “cruel summer” as gas prices are expected to dwarf their already record highs.

“With expectations of strong driving demand — traditionally, the U.S. summer driving season starts on Memorial Day, which lands this year on May 30, and lasts until Labor Day in early September — U.S. retail price could surge another 37% by August to a $6.20/gallon national average,” she wrote.

“Typically, refiners produce more gasoline ahead of the summer road-trip season, building up inventories,” the analysts said. However, over the last month, “gasoline inventories have fallen counter seasonally and today sit at the lowest seasonal levels since 2019.”

The report comes the same week that the United States set a new record for gas prices with the average cost per gallon rising over $4 per gallon in all 50 states for the first time ever, according to a report from the American Automobile Association (AAA).

“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”

As explained in the report, “total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 3.6 million bbl to 225 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand also decreased slightly from 8.86 million b/d to 8.7 million b/d. Typically, lower demand would put downward pressure on pump prices. However, crude prices remain volatile, and as they surge, pump prices follow suit. Pump prices will likely face upward pressure as oil prices stay above $105 per barrel.”

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Economy

Report: April 2022 Inflation Was Worse Than Expected

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The inflation crisis continued to worsen in April, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday.

“The consumer price index, a broad-based measure of prices for goods and services, increased 8.3% from a year ago, higher than the Dow Jones estimate for an 8.1% gain,” CNBC reported. “That represented a slight ease from March’s peak but was still close to the highest level since the summer of 1982.”

According to the new CPI report, inflation “increased 0.3 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.2 percent in March… The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending April, a smaller increase than the 8.5-percent figure for the period ending in March. The all items less food and energy index rose 6.2 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index rose 30.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 9.4 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1981.”

Due to the rising inflation rate, the real wages of American workers continued to fall over the last year. According to a separate report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “Real average hourly earnings decreased 2.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2021 to April 2022. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.9 percent in the average workweek resulted in a 3.4-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.”

As noted by CNBC, “Markets had been looking for signs that March’s 8.5% CPI reading would mark the peak in pandemic-era inflation.”

However, the new April report showed that “this is another upward inflation surprise and suggests that the deceleration is going to be painstakingly slow,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, according to CNBC.

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