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In State of the Union, Biden to focus on his efforts to reduce Americans' cost of living: White House

Amid low polling and voter frustration with inflation and the economy in an election year, President Joe Biden's State of the Union address is a chance for him to persuade Americans he's working to lower their cost of living, officials say.

During his address, the president will talk about "continuing to lower costs, giving people more breathing room, lowering health care premiums, and taking on drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told ABC News' Brad Mielke.

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PHOTO: Stuart Dryden reaches for a store-label cream cheese at a grocery store , Feb. 21, 2024, in Arlington, Va. (Chris Rugaber/AP)
PHOTO: Stuart Dryden reaches for a store-label cream cheese at a grocery store , Feb. 21, 2024, in Arlington, Va. (Chris Rugaber/AP)

"All of these things are incredibly important," she said.

The president will highlight the rebound the U.S. has seen since the depths of the pandemic when he was sworn into office, said National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard said on a call previewing the State of the Union.

"We were in the midst of a raging pandemic. Tens of millions of Americans were unemployed, hundreds of thousands of small businesses were at risk of closing and supply chains were badly broken," Brainard said.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to Congress during his State of The Union address on February 7, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to Congress during his State of The Union address on February 7, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, FILE)

Biden will emphasize other aspects of economic recovery such as adding nearly 15 million jobs, rising wages, an unemployment rate below 4% for the past two years and inflation steadily dropping.

Biden will also focus on the steps he's taken to lower health care and prescription drug costs, said White House Domestic Policy Adviser Neera Tanden.

"He will discuss how we will continue to lower prescription drug costs and make health care affordable for everyone," Tanden said on a call with reporters previewing the address.

She called health care a "signature issue" for the administration.

The administration emphasized Biden's efforts to "take on Big Pharma" and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Currently, 10 drugs -- meant to treat anything from diabetes to blood clots -- are on the negotiating table.

"The negotiation program is working," a senior administration official said.

The program is a result of Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, one of his key legislative victories.

PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the Senate's recent passage of the National Security Supplemental Bill, which provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, in the State Dining Room of the White House on Feb. 13, 2024 in Washington, DC.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the Senate's recent passage of the National Security Supplemental Bill, which provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, in the State Dining Room of the White House on Feb. 13, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Biden will also highlight the out-of-pocket cap on prescription drugs and expand it further, Tanden said.

"The president will say that he wants to expand the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap to every American," Tanden said. "That way all Americans would have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they won't have to choose between filling their prescriptions or putting food on the table."

Biden will use his address to tout his administration's efforts to crackdown on what he calls "junk fees" across a number of sectors, from air travel, to concerts, banks, credit cards and health care and call out companies for "shrinkflation," Brainard said.

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Just days before his SOTU address, Biden announced the launch of a new "strike force" to crack down on what he called unfair and illegal practices that keep prices high. During his address, Biden is expected to highlight a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers that the administration's actions on "junk fees" alone will save Americans more than $20 billion every year, according to Brainard.

The White House said in a statement that the "strike force" will target behavior that hikes prices on Americans through "anti-competitive, unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices," and focus on areas such as "prescription drugs and health care, food and grocery, housing and financial services."

The White House said that the task force is taking on "bulk billing" by internet providers, specifically highlighting a proposed FCC rule that would ban the practice where landlords charge everyone living or working in a building for a particular internet, cable, or satellite service, even if they don't want it or haven't opted in.

Through the strike force, the Department of Agriculture will go after poultry and meat processors to protect farmers and ranchers from deceptive contracts and retaliatory practices, and promote competitive agricultural markets, which in turn can lower food prices, the White House said.

In addition to "cracking down on rental junk fees, the administration also plans on lowering housing costs by building and preserving more than 2 million homes, which would close the housing supply gap and lower housing costs for renters and homeowners," the White House added.

The president will also push his plans to change the tax system, repeating his call to raise the corporate minimum tax to 28% and propose a 25% minimum tax for billionaires. He will argue that the GOP plan would add more than $3 trillion to deficits over 10 years if they make the Trump tax cuts permanent, while providing tax cuts for those making over $4.5 million, according to Brainard.

Jean-Pierre said that the president is "going to talk about making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes -- putting the middle class first."

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A senior administration official said that the budget Biden will release next week will "reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years."

ABC News' Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

In State of the Union, Biden to focus on his efforts to reduce Americans' cost of living: White House originally appeared on abcnews.go.com