President Joe Biden has proposed an economic plan to eliminate hidden fees charged by banks, hotels, airlines, and utility service providers.
On Monday, Biden condemned the fees, saying they intensify inflation and squeeze family budgets “at a time when they can’t afford it.”
Biden delivered his remarks during the third meeting of the Council, a body of Cabinet and administration officials assigned to tackle inflation, lowering drug costs, empower workers, and ensure fair competition between large and small businesses throughout the country, MSN reported.
Officials gathered in the State Dining Room, where the president reaffirmed his commitment to helping America’s middle-class, adding, “we got to lower costs for families.”
“Families all across America, at the end of the month, are trying to figure out how they are going to pay their monthly bills. And they’re not going to have anything left over,” Biden said. “As my dad would say, “Is there going to be any breathing room when it was all over?”
Biden also called out hotel processing fees, banks overdraft fees, fees on late credit card bills, as well as prices for customers who want to cancel their internet or cellphone contracts.
“Families shouldn’t have to pay these fees,” Biden said. “It’s all taking money out of the pockets of average Americans.”
Biden confirmed he is seeking to lower prices across the country to provide relief for everyday Americans who continue to struggle due to inflation and high energy prices this year.
“We’re taking inflation very seriously by enacting policies to bring down costs for people,” he said. “And I have to admit to you, my focus is primarily on working-class and middle-class folks. They’re the ones that get hurt the most, in my view.”
The Council has been tapped to carry out the new directives to promote “competition with a goal of lowering prices for consumers and raising the wages of workers and encouraging innovation in the economy,” Biden said.
Biden previously proposed that the largest banks in the U.S. stop changing bounced check fees, which currently average about $50 per incident. This proposal would save taxpayers around $3 billion a year.
Biden has also assigned the Federal Communication Commission to apply more pressure on cell phone companies to be more transparent regarding fees that will be charged to a customer when they purchase a monthly plan.
Biden didn’t stop there; he also announced new transparency rules for airlines and travel agencies, calling on them to disclose any hidden fees on seats, baggage, and other add-ons like extra legroom.
“You should know the full cost of your ticket right when you’re comparison shopping,” Biden said.
The council also discussed market pricing and fairness in the meat industry. The committee seeks to develop a way to help small processors compete with big industry companies, which could ultimately help lower prices in grocery stores.
Throughout Biden’s presidency, he has stressed that it’s the lack of competition that helps drive up prices for consumers and declines wages for workers.
The USDA “is focused on building new, fairer, and more resilient markets, protecting producers, and reducing food costs, and we are proving again today that we will use all the tools at our disposal to do so,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at the meeting.