Biden tells gas stations to lower pump prices, rips ‘junk fees’ on cellphones
Biden tells companies that run gas stations to drive down prices at the pump and rips up ‘junk fees’ including overdrafts and cellphone termination that ‘harms families’
- President Biden addressed the White House Competition Council on Monday
- His administration grapples with a cost-of-living crisis as inflation remains high
- He blamed companies charging what he called ‘junk fees’
- And demanded that banks drop overdraft fees, cellphone companies drop termination fees and airlines end rebooking penalties
President Joe Biden on Monday criticized businesses for keeping prices high and demanded that gas stations, banks and cellphone services cut costs for families struggling with record levels of inflation.
The economic crisis has dogged the Biden administration as Democrats seek to hold on to the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections.
In a meeting at the White House, Biden singled out “junk fees” such as bank overdraft fees and cellphone termination fees for causing economic hardship.
And he had a special message for the gas companies.
“My message is simple… Lower the prices you charge at the pump,” he told a meeting of his Competition Council at the White House.
‘Do it now… Not in a month. Do it now.’
He said he tasked his board with finding ways to encourage competition and reduce fees. In particular, he focused on bank overdraft fees, mobile phone company cancellation fees and airline rebooking fees.
President Joe Biden on Monday demanded that gas stations, banks and cell phone services cut costs for families struggling with record levels of inflation
Gas prices have fallen over the past three months, but rose again for the first time last week
“This advice is going to come back to me…with a plan to eliminate and reduce fees. Families shouldn’t have to pay these fees,” he said.
Republicans have blamed Biden for soaring prices since pandemic shutdowns eased last year, causing supply chain congestion.
Biden, in turn, sought to point the finger at private enterprise and examples of price gouging.
But he said the United States was in a better position than many other countries struggling with rising prices.
“The United States of America is in a better position than any other country to meet these global challenges,” he said. ‘Period.’
Biden and his team tried to spread a “good news” message about the economy.
They point to the high number of jobs, rising wages and several months of falling gas prices.
Inflation has remained stubbornly high since the start of the year and currently stands at over 8% on an annual basis.
President Biden promised to take ‘control’ of inflation, currently at 8.3%, during a CBS 60 Minutes interview last week when he defended his economic record
But critics say it’s not helping families struggling with rising bills, caused by inflation of more than 8% (year-on-year)
Stubbornly high inflation could still create the conditions for a recession.
“We are in a position where, over the last few months, it has not increased. It’s been pretty much equal,’ Biden said during a CBS 60 Minutes interview last week.
“And in the meantime, we’ve created all these jobs and prices have gone up, but they’ve gone down for energy,” the president said.
“The fact is that we have created 10 million new jobs. We are in a situation where the unemployment rate is around 3.7%, one of the lowest in history.
“We are in a situation where manufacturing is coming back to the United States in a big way.
“And look further, we have massive investments going on in computer chips and jobs. It’s a process.