White House braces for ‘extraordinarily elevated’ inflation numbers

The White House is bracing for “extraordinarily elevated” inflation numbers to be reflected in Tuesday’s data from the Labor Department, attributing it largely to rising energy costs stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Monthly data from the consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of inflation, is due out on Tuesday, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said officials are prepared for heightened numbers.

“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month,” Psaki said, indirectly referring to releasing additional oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and calls for oil companies to avoid price gouging.

“But we expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated, due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki continued, saying the impact of energy prices will largely be to blame and that the fault lies in part with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gas is $4.11 as of Monday, according to AAA. That number is down slightly from a month ago, when the average price per gallon was $4.33, but it is still up roughly 50 cents from early March.

“I will say that anytime there’s heightened monthly data or inflation reporting or numbers, it is a reminder to us, our allies on the Hill and hopefully to many of the American people that we need to do more to reduce costs for the American people,” Psaki said.

She pushed for Congress to pass the administration’s proposals on prescription drug pricing, child care and other areas that would reduce costs for families and help mitigate the effects of rising costs for energy and food.

Rising prices for food, energy, shelter and a wide range of consumer goods have squeezed household budgets amid an otherwise strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Administration officials have largely chalked it up to the war in Ukraine, which has roiled global energy markets and upended food supply chains.

Tags gas prices Inflation Jen Psaki Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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