Biden blames ‘Putin’s price hike’ for inflation spike

President Biden on Thursday said that the inflation report shows Americans are feeling the impacts of the price hike brought on by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion into Ukraine.

“Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike. A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” Biden said in a statement.

Consumer prices rose 0.8 percent in February and 7.9 percent over the last 12 months, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Rising prices for gasoline, housing and food drove most of February’s inflation spike, the department said.

“As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: The costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing,” Biden said.  

Earlier this week, Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and White House has sought to pin the blame for the high cost of gas on Putin since the announcement, increasingly arguing that the invasion is the cause.

The president on Thursday said he’s fighting to bring down prices, noting that the U.S. secured a release of 60 million barrels of oil from our strategic reserves last week.

He also argued that investments to manufacture more in the U.S., strengthen supply chains, promote competition, make sure companies offer fair prices and lowering the cost of prescription drugs and energy are steps that can help. 

He touted that his administration reduced the deficit last year, which was the first reduction since 2015, and that the Congressional Budget Office predicts it will be cut more in 2022.

“Finally, I want to be clear: We can do all this, and reduce the huge federal budget deficit that I inherited from my predecessor. Earlier this week, we learned that after reducing the deficit last year — for the first time since 2015 — CBO reported that we are on track to cut the deficit this year by over $1 trillion — the largest one year reduction in the deficit in US history,” the president said.

He also touted that new unemployment claims are low and the number people on unemployment insurance is the lowest since 1970, calling Thursday’s economic data a “tale of two recoveries.”