Expressing gratitude for an exceptional economic miracle

Leading the Way: Recognizing the Achievements of President Joe Biden and Alaska’s Congressional Delegation

By Dan Baldwin

Updated: 2 hours ago

Published: 2 hours ago

Murmuration of blackbirds flying over the White House grounds with the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial behind
A murmuration of blackbirds fly over the White House grounds with the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial behind, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Remarkable Economic Recovery

We live in extraordinary times, and I want to give thanks to those who have led this country out of a pandemic, through two wars, and into a period of economic growth that is finally benefiting our working class. This is the most challenging set of economic and geopolitical threats since the Great Depression and Nazism, but President Joe Biden and many congressional leaders, including Alaska’s delegation, have risen to the occasion. Let’s examine their record in detail and give credit where it is due.

Achievements in Infrastructure and Energy

The fact that we emerged from the pandemic without a recession or depression is miraculous. It took a combination of massive federal investment, coordination by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and then-Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R), and support from Alaska’s congressional delegation. Our members of Congress also played a key role in driving infrastructure and energy investments that are fueling incredible economic growth.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski substantially wrote the bipartisan infrastructure law, and the late Congressman Don Young worked with Pelosi to get the bill through a narrowly divided House. Our delegation also supported the bipartisan CHIPS Act, a critical national security bill that is on-shoring manufacturing of information technology and helping us build our defense base to enhance security against Chinese and Russian aggression. Remarkably, we have made all of these investments with a more sustainable long-term budget because the president’s Inflation Reduction Act contained critical cost-saving measures that have driven down the cost of health care to less than the rate of inflation. After decades of soaring health costs, containing Medicare costs is a major achievement and a key to federal budget sustainability.

Economic Growth and Job Creation

Consider the results of these reforms: Since President Biden was elected, construction spending on U.S. manufacturing increased from $80 billion to $180 billion annually. Economists estimate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act have spurred $227 billion in additional energy investment. After decades of losing good jobs overseas, the Inflation Reduction Act has incentivized businesses to invest some $90 billion in energy-related manufacturing here in America, strengthening our economy and national security while improving supply chain resilience. Alaska is benefiting from these investments, again thanks to the hard work of our congressional delegation. Murkowski and Rep. Mary Peltola advocated successfully to bring a $205 million federal GRIP grant to Alaska, one of the five largest investments in the country. This grant is essential to control energy costs, bring affordable renewable energy sources online, enable carbon sequestration investments, and strengthen our mining industry.

Defending National Security

This economic recovery from the pandemic is more remarkable because Congress and the president are rebuilding our country and middle class while containing Russian and Chinese aggression and helping defend Israel against a brutal terrorist assault. It is extremely difficult to respond to foreign threats and invest in projects at home, but the president and Congress are pulling it off.

Huge thanks to Biden and our Alaska senators in particular, who have been relentless advocates for Ukraine military aid that is essential to contain Russia. Make no mistake: Failure to contain Putin now will only result in a broader, more expensive, and deadly war. Unfortunately, the recently elected Republican speaker in the U.S. House, who oversees a lunatic and dysfunctional majority, is now blocking Ukraine aid. National security is vastly more important than the House Republicans’ blind loyalty to Donald Trump, so I wish our congressional delegation luck in managing to get additional Ukraine aid appropriated.

A Model of Bipartisan Collaboration

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many economists feared a repeat of the Great Depression. Instead, our economy is growing, we’re rebuilding America’s manufacturing sector and middle class, and mostly bipartisan laws are improving our national security even at a time of dangerous threats from Russia, China, and Hamas. Let’s give thanks to Biden and Alaska’s Congressional delegation. They may not always agree on every issue, but their collaboration on economic and national security issues is a model for how democratic government is supposed to work. At a time of great danger in the world, we need that bipartisan collaboration to continue.

Dan Baldwin is a lifelong Alaskan from Wasilla. He works in the construction industry and is a proud union member.

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