Biden Bits: They Just Need A Chance…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

President Biden’s public schedule for Wednesday, 02/01/2023:

9:00 AM The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Closed Press
10:00 AM In-Town Pool Call Time
In-Town Pool
1:15 PM The President convenes a meeting of his Competition Council to receive an update on progress his Administration has made to increase competition in the American economy and lower prices for the American people
East Room In-House Pool Spray
2:00 PM ​ Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
3:15 PM The President hosts Speaker McCarthy for a meeting at the White House to discuss a range of issues
Oval Office Closed Press
5:00 PM The President hosts an official transition event to thank Chief of Staff Ron Klain for his tireless work and officially welcome Jeff Zients back to the White House in this role
East Room

This morning the White House posted the following fact-sheet; President Biden Highlights New Progress on His Competition Agenda

President Biden Will Call for a Junk Fee Prevention Act to Eliminate Unfair and Costly Junk Fees

As part of the fourth meeting of the President’s Competition Council, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing two actions that further advance the President’s agenda of promoting competition in the American economy. First, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing a rule that would slash excessive credit card late fees, pursuant to its authority under the bipartisan Credit CARD Act of 2009. The rule is projected to reduce typical late fees from roughly $30 to $8, saving consumers as much as $9 billion a year in late fees. Second, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is releasing a report assessing the barriers to competition in the current mobile app store ecosystem and providing recommendations to level the playing field for app developers and give consumers more control over their devices.

The President will also highlight the Administration’s steady progress in eliminating or limiting junk fees: those hidden or unexpected fees that Americans pay each day that can total hundreds of dollars a month. Junk fees are not only costly to consumers, but they can stifle competition by encouraging companies to use increasingly sophisticated tools to disguise the true price consumers face. By reducing these fees and increasing transparency, we can provide relief to consumers and make our economy more competitive, particularly for new and growing businesses.

Since the President urged agencies to focus on reducing junk fees at the September 2022 meeting of the Competition Council, agencies have delivered in the following ways:

White 02/01/2023.
  • The CFPB targeted overdraft and bounced check fees, releasing two reports in 2021 and ramping up its oversight, driving 15 of the 20 largest banks to agree to put an end to bounced check fees. The CFPB followed up by releasing guidance banning surprise overdraft fees – fees charged for overdrawing a checking account even though at the time of purchase there appeared to be sufficient funds – and surprise depositor fees charged when you deposit someone else’s bounced check. These changes will reduce fees by more than $1 billion annually.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule to require airlines and online booking services to show the full price of a plane ticket up front, including baggage and other fees. DOT also published a dashboard of airline policies when flights are delayed or cancelled due to issues under the airlines’ control, leading 9 airlines to change policies to guarantee coverage of hotels and 10 airlines to guarantee coverage of meals, none of which was guaranteed before.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released new rules that will go into effect next year to require broadband providers to use “nutrition labels”—similar to those used for food products—to convey key information to consumers about internet service options in an accessible format. The information featured will include prices, speeds, data allowances, and any additional fees charged.

Even as the Administration is taking these significant steps to use existing authority to eliminate junk fees, the President is calling on Congress to pass a Junk Fee Prevention Act that cracks down on four types of junk fees that cost American consumers billions of dollars a year.

Specifically, the President is urging Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come together to:

Crack down on excessive online concert, sporting event, and other entertainment ticket fees. Many online ticket sellers impose massive service fees at check-out that are not disclosed when consumers are choosing their tickets. In a review of 31 different sporting events across five ticket sellers’ websites, service charges averaged more than 20% of the ticket’s face value, and total fees—like processing fees, delivery fees, and facility fees—reached up to more than half the cost of the ticket itself. A family of four attending a show could end up paying far more than $100 in fees above and beyond the cost of the tickets.

Significant concentration in the industry—and a lack of consumer options—makes matters worse. Often, if Americans want to attend a particular concert or sporting event, they only have one online option for making the initial ticket purchase. That means that even if consumers knew they might have to pay a large fee on top of the ticket cost, they would have no way to avoid it if they wanted to attend a particular show. One company has exclusive partnerships with a reported 80 of the top 100 arenas in the United States, allowing it to charge fees to attend events at those leading venues without fear of competition.

While antitrust enforcement agencies have the authority to investigate and address anti-competitive conduct in the industry, the President urges Congress to act now to reduce these fees through legislation. Specifically, the President is calling on Congress to prohibit excessive fees, require the fees to be disclosed in the ticket price, and mandate disclosure of any ticket holdbacks that diminish available supply.

Ban airline fees for family members to sit with young children. Many airlines today charge a fee to select a seat in advance, including for those traveling with children. Parents can find themselves unexpectedly not seated with their young child on a flight or paying large fees to sit next to their children. The President believes no parent should have to pay extra to sit next to their child. 

In July 2022, the DOT issued a notice stating that it is the Department’s policy that U.S. airlines ensure that children who are age 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult with no extra charge, but still no airline guarantees fee-free family seating. DOT will publish a family seating fee dashboard and launch a rulemaking to ban the practice. The President is calling upon Congress to fast-track the ban on family seating fees so that the DOT can crack down on these practices more quickly than through a rulemaking. 

Eliminate exorbitant early termination fees for TV, phone, and internet service. Too often, cable TV, internet, and mobile phone providers have “early termination” fees that consumers must pay if they want to switch to another provider. These fees can exceed $200. Early termination fees are costly for consumers and undermine economic dynamism by making it harder for innovative companies to win a toe-hold in the market by encouraging customers to switch. And these providers often charge people when they’re most vulnerable—people who are forced to move because of a job loss or other financial downturn, for example, may be slammed with hundreds of dollars in early termination fees.

The President urges Congress to eliminate these excessive early termination fees so that companies can no longer lock in customers and must truly compete with each other on the basis of price and quality.

Ban surprise resort and destination fees. When families set their budget for a vacation, they expect that the hotel price they see is the price they will pay. But many travelers encounter surprise “resort fees” or “destination fees” when they check out or at the end of a lengthy online reservation process. These fees harm consumers by preventing them from the seeing the true price when they pick out a hotel and by limiting their ability to comparison shop. Over the past decade, a growing number of hotels have imposed these fees on consumers, which can be $50 or more per night. More than one-third of hotel guests report having paid such fees. And the total costs for Americans are enormous: according to one report, hotels collected billions in these fees and surcharges in 2018.

The President urges Congress to ban these surprise fees by requiring that hotels include them in the price of the room, so consumers aren’t surprised. Travelers should know which hotels charge these fees and which ones do not, so that they can plan and budget accordingly.

The President is calling for passage of a Junk Fee Prevention Act to provide millions of Americans with fast relief from these frustrating and costly fees. This will not only save Americans billions a year, but make our markets more competitive—creating a more even playing field so that businesses that price in a fair and transparent manner no longer lose sales to companies that disguise their actual prices with hidden fees. In the coming weeks and months, the Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to working with Congress to crack down not only on these fees, but also other junk fees that take cash out of Americans’ pockets and hide the true cost of products.

White 02/01/2023.

President Biden’s meeting is schedule to begin at 1:15 p.m. D.C., time.

White House press briefing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. D.C., time.

The White House Chief of Staff transition event is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. D.C., time.

President Biden has tweeted…

He’s posted 1 tweet so far for Wednesday.

I have not found the quote or the photo. Google and Getty and YouTube and the White House…

When the post was posted for Tuesday, President Biden had tweeted 2 times. He added 10 tweets giving him a Tuesday Tweeting total of 12 tweets and 0 retweets.

Authors note: On Monday and Tuesday, President Biden offered remarks on the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. Because of his back to back remarks his tweet text can be found in both speeches.

The YouTube is 1 hour and 1 second long. It has two be right back screens with speakers before and after both brb screens. President Biden begins his remarks at the 41 minute and 58 second mark. His full results can be found here.

The photo was captured on Monday when President Biden visited Baltimore, Maryland.

President Biden [1/30/2023]: The law — this law is the most significant investment in American roads and bridges since the Interstate Highway System, and it’s the single most significant investment in rail in America since Amtrak was created 50 years ago.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: This law is the most significant investment in rail — the most significant investment in rail since we created Amtrak over 50 years ago. And billions — billions are going to projects along the Northeast Corridor, including replacing the existing Hudson Tunnel.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: But there’s another view: the one that I hold, the majority of the people hold, I think, like the folks in the city where I was born, in Scranton, or the town I was raised, in Claymont, Delaware. They view America’s workers as ready to work hard as hell, given an even shot. They just need a shot though.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: When I ran for President, I agreed that we were going to build from the bottom up and the middle out to bring back good-paying jobs you can raise a family on, whether or not you went to college; to give families more breathing room to invest in ourselves again, invest in America again. And that’s what we’ve done.

The 36 video snip was taken from remarks he gave in Maryland on Monday.

President Biden: Let me, at the outset — this is just the beginning — beginning — of having a 21st century rail system that’s been so long overdue in this country.

President Biden: And with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, they’ll be finally getting it done.

President Biden: Over 2,200 trains run on this corridor every single day, and it’s the busiest in the United States and one of the busiest corridors in the world.

President Biden: And through the Infrastructure Law, we’re going to be investing over $4 billion to replace the existing Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel. (Applause.) And that’s why it’s so important.

The photo was taken when he visited New York, New York.

“21st century” appears 2 times in his remarks from Monday…

President Biden [01/30/2023]: Let me, at the outset — this is just the beginning — beginning — of having a 21st century rail system that’s been so long overdue in this country.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: So, it’s about time we say, once again, we’re going to lead the world the second quarter of the 21st century.

“21st century” appears 1 time in his remarks from Tuesday…

President Biden [01/31/2023]: Now, let me say this at the outset: This is just the beginning — just the beginning of finally constructing a 21st century rail system that’s long, long overdue in this country.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: Over 2,200 trains run on this corridor every single day, and it’s the busiest in the United States and one of the busiest corridors in the world.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: If this line shuts down, in just one day it would cost the country over $100 million.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: The structure is deteriorating, the roof is leaking, the floor is sinking.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: Funding from the Infrastructure Law is fully — will re- — fully replace this tunnel. And we’re naming the new tunnel after Frederick Douglass, who boarded this train to freedom right here in Baltimore.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: Two thousand two hundred trains — 2,200 trains run along the Northeast Corridor every single day. It’s the busiest corridor in the United States of America and one of the busiest in the world.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: So I know it to be a fact. If this line shut down for just one day, it would cost the American economy $100 million a day, in cost.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: This tunnel opened for business in two- — in 1910, 113 year ago. And the structure is literally deteriorating. The roof is leaking. The floor is sinking. Plus, it was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

From Reuters: The White House on Tuesday expressed outrage on Tuesday at Exxon Mobil Corp’s record net profit in 2022 of $56 billion, a historical high not just for the company but for the entire Western oil industry. Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records due to high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined take to near $200 billion. The scale has brought renewed criticism of the oil industry and sparked calls for more countries to levy windfall profit taxes on the companies.

According to the article the White House issued the following statement; it’s not published @White

The latest earnings reports make clear that oil companies have everything they need, including record profits and thousands of unused but approved permits, to increase production, but they’re instead choosing to plow those profits into padding the pockets of executives and shareholders while House Republicans manufacture excuse after excuse to shield them from any accountability

Reuters. 01/31/2023: updated 02/01/2023.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: And the Hudson River Tunnel project will lead to 72,000 good-playing [good-paying] jobs over its lifetime: laborers, electricians, carpenters, cement masons, ironworkers, operating engineers, and more. Good jobs you can raise a family on, and most don’t require a college degree. But they do require four years of apprenticeships, training programs. It’s one of the reasons why the United States has the best-trained workers in the world. (Applause.) No, that’s not hyperbole. We do.

The photo was taken during his remarks on Tuesday.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: But we have the — to have the best economy in the world, you have to have the best infrastructure in the world — that’s not hyperbole; it’s a fact — to get products to market, to create thousands of good-paying jobs.

President Biden [01/31/2023]: But to have the best economy in the world, you have to have the best infrastructure in the world. People don’t build factories where there are not rail stations, where there are not ports, where there are not access to highways. They don’t attract businesses unless you have the best infrastructure to get products to market, to create thousands of good-paying jobs.

President Biden [01/30/2023]: We went through four decades where we exported jobs and imported product. We’re exporting product and importing jobs now. (Applause.)

President Biden [01/31/2023]: For four decades, we imported products and exported jobs. Now America is exporting products and creating jobs.

This is an Open Thread.

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.