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EXCLUSIVE: The White House is firing back at Sen. Rick Scott after his latest television ads targeting President Biden, slamming the Republican senator for “exploiting inflation to rip off working families with more welfare for the rich.”
Scott, R-Fla., on Monday released a television ad blasting Biden for having “destroyed America’s economy.”
“It’s time to be honest with the American people. Joe Biden is unfit for office and should resign,” the ad says.
The ad features a video of the president referring to Sen. Scott as being from Wisconsin, and warns that Biden is forcing America into a recession. In a previous ad, Scott called Biden “incompetent and confused.”
The White House hit back Monday, defending the president’s response to inflation and slamming Scott’s plan.
“Those are interesting words to choose about a President who inherited an economy in its worst state of crisis since the Great Depression and delivered historic economic growth and unprecedented job creation to make our recovery the strongest of any in the world,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Monday.
“Tellingly, this comes from a senior member of Republican leadership whose hardcore MAGA economic agenda would be an economic nightmare for the middle class – raising taxes on 75 million working people while sunsetting Medicare and Social Security and requiring a super majority to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share,” Bates told Fox News. “The President is actually taking on the global problem of inflation that’s hitting all over the world after covid – and lowering costs for families like energy and prescription drugs is his highest priority.”
He added: “Meanwhile, Senator Scott is exploiting inflation to rip off working families with more welfare for the rich.”
Biden has repeatedly criticized Scott for his “11 Point Plan to Rescue America,” which proposed raising income taxes on Americans.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott wrote in the plan. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shut down the Scott proposal, saying that Republicans “will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
And a senior Republican source told Fox News that “income tax hikes are never part of the discussion when Republicans are in charge in Washington.”
Scott’s ads are part of a seven-figure television buy to promote Scott’s “Rescue America” plan should Republicans take back the majority of the Senate in November. It covers areas from education, to immigration, to the economy.
Since its release in the spring, Scott’s plan has received fierce criticism from Democrats and pushback from some Republicans.
Though Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is leading the GOP’s effort to take back the Senate majority, the ad is funded by his own Senate reelection committee, Rick Scott for Florida.
Meanwhile, as for inflation, the Labor Department said Friday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rent, rose 8.6% in May from a year ago. Prices jumped 1% in the one-month period from April. Those figures were both higher than the 8.3% headline figure and 0.7% monthly gain forecast by Refinitiv economists.
It marks the fastest pace of inflation since December 1981.
The Labor Department Friday said price increases were widespread: Energy prices rose 3.9% in May from the previous month, and are up 34.6% from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 48.7% more than it did one year ago and 7.8% more than it did in April. In all, fuel prices jumped 16.9% in May on a monthly basis, pushing the one-year increase to a stunning 106.7%.
In another worrisome sign, shelter costs – which account for roughly one-third of the CPI – accelerated in May, climbing 0.6%. It marked the fastest one-month gain since 2004. On an annual basis, shelter costs have climbed 5.5%, the fastest since February 1991.
Food prices have also climbed 10.1% higher over the year and 1.2% over the month, with the largest increases in dairy and related products (up 2.9%, the biggest monthly increase since July 2007), non-alcoholic beverages (1.7%), cereals and bakery products (1.5%), and meats, poultry, fish and eggs (1.1%).
Scorching hot inflation has created severe financial pressures for most U.S. households, which are forced to pay more everyday necessities like food, gasoline and rent. The burden is disproportionately borne by low-income Americans, whose already-stretched paychecks are heavily impacted by price fluctuations.
President Biden, though, has said tackling inflation is his “top economic priority.”
Fox News’ Megan Henney and Kate Ahlborn contributed to this report.