WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden on Tuesday promised that bringing inflation under control is his number one economic priority.
"The first cause of inflation is a once-in-a-century pandemic," Biden said. "A second cause – Mr. Putin's war in Ukraine."
In addition, Biden mocked a Republican senator who called him "incapacitated" and "confused."
With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics scheduled to release a new inflation number on Wednesday, the president appeared to want to talk to the American people ahead of more bad news.
"Look, I know you gotta be frustrated. I know. I can taste it. Frustrated by high prices, by gridlock in Congress. By the time it takes to get anything done," Biden said.
Biden blasted an 11-point economic plan offered months ago by Florida Senator Rick Scott, leader of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in the GOP have rejected Scott’s plan, it did call for collecting income taxes from tens of millions of Americans who do not pay them now.
Also, Scott’s 11-point plan seemed to open the door to cutbacks in such programs as Social Security.
Shortly before Biden spoke, Scott called on him to resign. A reporter asked for reaction.
"The senator added later, ‘Joe Biden is unwell. He's unfit for office. He's incoherent, incapacitated and confused.’ These are his words. Offering you a chance to respond," the reporter said.
"He's a man with a problem," Biden said.
Some economists expect the latest Consumer Price Index out Wednesday to show inflation cooling off a bit, but still near the highest level in decades.