Biden committed to cracking down on ‘junk fees’

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(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden is focusing on the economy as he heads to Syracuse, New York and Pennsylvania ahead of the midterm elections. His focus is on what he calls “junk fees” charged by banks, airlines and other businesses.

After months of high inflation, voters say the economy is at the top of their minds as they head to the polls. As Americans face rising costs for everything from heat to groceries, people are taking on side hustles and cutting back on saving for the future to try to stay afloat.

Biden said the fees he’s going after hit marginalized Americans especially hard, especially low-income people and people of color.

“I know it’s been a tough few years. But from day one, my administration had laser focus on easing the burden facing working-class families and giving them, as my dad would say, just a little breathing room,” he said at a press conference.

Biden is going after overdraft and bad check fees charged by banks, which financial institutions have been facing pressure to reduce for some time.

Guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would make it illegal to for banks to charge those who overdraw their accounts.

Prior to the pandemic, banks collectively charged their customers roughly $15 billion in overdraft and bounced check fees, according to a bureau estimate. The bureau estimates that its new enforcement push on junk fees will save Americans roughly $3 billion in fees annually.

Biden is also going after the travel industry, which is a top offender when it comes to hidden fees. That includes things like resort fees added to a hotel booking, vacation rental cleaning fees and airline surcharges for everything from checking a bag to changing a seat or rebooking a flight.

Junk fees are just one part of Biden’s economic message. The president has focused his message on his administration’s investment in infrastructure spending and successes in reducing the price of prescription drugs for seniors.

In Syracuse, Biden will focus on job creation and a significant investment by the U.S.-based company Micron, one of the largest microchip manufacturers in the world. The company has credited a new law boosting domestic production of semiconductors for its new, so-called megafab in the area that will create 50,000 new jobs, which will pay an average of $100,000 a year.

Biden and his fellow Democrats got some good news with data showing the U.S. economy grew at a better-than-expected 2.6% annual rate from July through September, overcoming inflation and interest rates and snapping two straight quarters of economic contraction.

With less than two weeks left before the election, Biden is hitting the campaign trail hard and promoting Democratic achievements, especially when it comes to vulnerable Democrats and races that could be critical when it comes to maintaining control of the House and Senate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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