Finance

GOP lawmaker on inflation: Democrats’ fiscal policy was ‘match that set off the kindling’

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) blamed Democratic lawmakers and the Federal Reserve Tuesday for the latest inflation surge in the U.S. after new Labor Department data revealed that inflation hit a 40-year high.

“Even some of the leading Democratic economists a year ago were begging them, ‘do not throw more kerosene and matches onto the kindling that the Fed had left us,’ ” Schweikert said of his Democratic colleagues in Congress during The Hill’s Future of Jobs summit on Tuesday.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that its consumer price index (CPI), which tracks inflation, increased by 8.5 percent over the past 12 months and by 1.2 percent in March alone. The March annual increase in inflation was the highest since December 1981.

The Biden administration has been quick to pin the latest inflation spike on the war in Ukraine, which triggered steep price increases across the globe. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that the Biden administration expected inflation to be “extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike.”

The CPI report was the first published since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a surge in oil and gas prices, aggravated supply chain bottlenecks and depleted the global supply of wheat and other prime Ukrainian exports.

Gasoline prices rose 48 percent over the past year, including an 18.3 percent increase in March alone, according to the Labor Department data. Food prices also increased 8.8 percent over the past year and 1 percent in March.

The Arizona Republican said he had some “quirky ideas” for an immediate economic remedy, including fiscal policy that would withdraw cash out of the system and put it toward preserving people’s retirement and economic futures.

“But it would require a lot of our Democratic colleagues to admit that their fiscal policy from last year was the match that set off the kindling,” Schweikert said.

Tags David Schweikert Jen Psaki
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