President Joe Biden hosts an event celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act Tuesday on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 13 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats hosted a White House celebration Tuesday touting the Inflation Reduction Act as stocks plunged nearly 1,300 points on news of rising consumer prices.
Speaking to hundreds of people on the White House South Lawn against the background of live music from James Taylor, Biden celebrated the $750 billion tax, climate and health care legislation saying "this is your victory."
"Today offers proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright and the promise of America is real," Biden said. "It is real, it is real."
The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law last month, pours billions of dollars into climate projects. It also limits out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare and sets a minimum 15% corporate tax rate for large companies.
"The days of companies paying zero in taxes is over, I promise you," Biden said.
The celebration fell on the same day the Labor Department released its consumer price index report for August, showing higher-than-expected inflation numbers. Consumer prices rose 0.1% after remaining flat in July, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 1,276 points, while the S&P 500 suffered its worst day since June 2020.
As consumer prices hover near a 40-year high, inflation remains a top issue for voters heading into the November midterm elections.
"We're making progress," Biden told the crowd as he touted lower gas prices. "We're getting other prices down as well."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke at the White House event.
"Inflation Reduction Act, so beautifully named for all it does," Pelosi said.
"It's been a long process, but the House Democratic caucus stayed the course, worked incredibly hard and made this moment possible," Schumer said. "And finally, I want to thank President Biden. We would never, never have gotten the Inflation Reduction Act done without his steady hand."
Republicans have argued the new law will not cure high inflation and could make it worse as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the White House celebration "out of touch."