The United States was facing the "very real risk of recession if not depression" in the first year of President Joe Biden's term, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday.
In an interview on ABC News' "This Week," Buttigieg said there are benefits still yet to be felt because of the American Rescue Plan.
"There was a very real risk of recession if not depression, and an American rescue plan has made enormous differences in communities across the country," he said.
"The fact that unemployment is as low as it is right now would not have happened, I believe, if not for the actions the President took and the actions that Congress did move through and pass like the rescue plan and what we're going to see the benefits of — this infrastructure law. Do anything on a bipartisan basis, this President did it, lot of people in Congress have a lot to be proud of."
Buttigieg described two strategies to bolster the economy, and without naming Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, blasted a conservative path that includes "going to war with Mickey Mouse."
"There are two very clear and very different approaches here, there's our approach, which is to find solutions to invest in our supply chains like we're doing with the infrastructure money … to do everything that we can to lower costs for American families like the cost of insulin and prescription drugs," he said.
"And then there's the other path that the congressional conservatives have put forward, it's… raising taxes on lower- and middle-income families, and going to war with Mickey Mouse," he said referring to a law that dissolved Walt Disney World's private government.
Buttigieg also blasted oil companies for hiking prices rather than bolstering oil production, and said Republicans have blocked action to change that.
"It's very striking right now to see these oil companies who have become almost ridiculously profitable and you hear these oil executives on the record talking about how they're not going to increase production," Buttigieg said.
"They're doing great right now, that's why the President has called it a use it or lose it, sitting on these thousands of permits and you're not doing anything with them then you're going to be held accountable for them," he added. "So far congressional Republicans have blocked action to do something like that. That's another step that would make a difference."
He also urged congressional support for doing "things that would make life easier for Americans who are facing these economic question marks right now."
"The administration and Congress have a job to do … and that is to support growth in this economy, including … making sure our supply chains are stronger, making sure we invest in the capacity both physical and human, of our economy to keep up with the demand and taking action where we can to lower costs for American families [like] … lowering the cost of insulin, lowering the cost of childcare, lowering the cost of housing, things that would make a difference," he said. "That would make life easier for Americans who are facing these economic question marks right now."
"From the other side of the aisle, not very much in concrete ideas," he added. "There's a continued push … to remove the ACA and you have continued cultural wars. Working with partners in Congress who are coming through with a number of good ideas is to continue to take the steps that are needed both on the price side and the on the growth side to keep our economy strong."
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