Biden says administration ‘making progress’ slowing rate of price increases
President Biden said Wednesday the newest data on inflation shows his administration is “making progress in slowing the rate of price increases” but acknowledged more work is needed to lower costs for American families.
“Today’s report—which shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling—demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets.”
New data from the Labor Department showed that consumer prices increased 7 percent in December from the same month a year earlier, representing the fastest increase since 1982. The largest price increases were reported in the categories of shelter, used cars and trucks.
But the report showed inflation increased 0.5 percent in December over November, a lower rate than the two previous months. The White House has highlighted that statistic as a sign that the rate of price increases is starting to ease.
The price of food increased less than in previous months and costs of gas and natural gas declined, according to the data.
The new data, while expected, represents a challenge for Biden. The president has celebrated the employment gains as evidence of a strong economic recovery even amid an ongoing coronavirus pandemic but has struggled to ease Americans’ concerns about the surging cost of goods. Republicans, meanwhile, are trying to make inflation a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections.
“Inflation is a global challenge, appearing in virtually every developed nation as it emerges from the pandemic economic slump,” Biden said in the statement Wednesday. “America is fortunate that we have one of the fastest growing economies—thanks in part to the American Rescue Plan—which enables us to address price increases and maintain strong, sustainable economic growth. That is my goal and I am focused on reaching it every day.”
The Biden administration has taken steps to ease supply chain bottlenecks in ports and trucks in order to keep costs down
Appearing on CNN Wednesday morning, White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein cited the decline in containers idling at ports and a decrease in shipping costs as evidence the administration’s efforts are paying off.
In November, Biden also authorized the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to combat high energy costs.
White House officials have pushed for the passage of Biden’s sweeping climate and social policy bill, Build Back Better, to help lower health care, child care and other costs for American families.
The bill is currently stalled in the Senate, however, and there’s not a clear path forward for the legislation.
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