Biden could once again play the role of “public enforcer” against Republican obstruction

The first two weeks of 2023 dampened already low hopes that Democrats and Republicans could work together in the years ahead.

Never mind, according to a top Biden economic aide. The president can once again play the role of “chief executive” as he did when he was vice president and helped create key economic legislation during the Great Recession.

“One thing people should know about Joe Biden, more than almost anyone else in the high office I’ve worked for, is that he cares a lot about execution,” said Jared Bernstein, a member of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy and inflation Jan. 12 in Washington. (Kevin Deitch/Getty Images)

Speaking about the big efforts from 2021 and 2022 — such as the bipartisan infrastructure act to the inflation-reducing act to the CHIPS Act and science — Bernstein said Biden “has told his staff, from the Cabinet down, that 2023 is about effective and effective implementation of these programs on behalf of About the American people.”

Bernstein appeared on Yahoo Finance Live Thursday (video above) to discuss the December inflation report as well as Biden’s economic agenda. He also spoke about his long relationship with Biden, including his stint as chief economist to then-Vice President Biden during the Obama administration.

“I worked with him when he was vice president, when he was Sheriff Joe, the highest enforcement officer of the Recovery Act,” Bernstein said, referring to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

investment in the economy

As it is, many of the recently passed laws have long implementation timelines with hundreds of billions of dollars still in the process of being promulgated and injected into the economy.

The Inflation Reduction Act, for example, has a raft of new provisions that were released online Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the CHIPS Act will only formally begin distributing the $50 billion it earmarked for semiconductor manufacturers in February.

Bernstein’s argument may be an attempt to make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons after early signals from Capitol Hill — from a long-standing House speaker to partisan bills dead on the fly with Democrats — dampened hopes of a bipartisan compromise in 2023.

Many Republicans strongly opposed the introduction of these laws and promised to exhaust all means to repeal them. But their power to stop the ongoing rollout is limited with Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House.

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters at the US Capitol in Washington, January 12, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters at the US Capitol on January 12. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

in own press conference On Thursday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) praised the House’s efforts this week and also promised “we’ll examine every dollar spent” by the Biden administration in the coming years.

President Biden, for his part, touched on implementation during his own remarks Thursday, but he also galvanized Republicans for what he described as extreme efforts — such as a bill that would repeal the IRS and income taxes in favor of a national consumption tax.

“National sales tax, great idea,” Biden quipped.

“Come on,” he added, promising to veto the unlikely event the legislation reached his desk.

Ben Werschkull is Yahoo Finance’s Washington correspondent.

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