President Joe Biden admitted that the June Consumer Price Index (CPI) was “unacceptably high” but said that the figure was “out-of-date” in a White House press release published just after the CPI data was released Wednesday morning.
Biden argued in the release that gas prices have come down substantially since mid-June, providing “important breathing room for American families.” He added that tackling inflation is his top challenge, and laid out a three step plan to address it.
“It is little comfort to Americans to know that inflation is also high in Europe, and higher in many countries there than in America. But it is a reminder that all major economies are battling this COVID-related challenge, made worse by Putin’s unconscionable aggression,” Biden wrote.
The first pillar of Biden’s plan is to bring down gas prices, including by pressuring gas companies to lower prices at the pump, noting that the price of oil has come down faster than the price for gasoline that consumers pay.
“Oil and gas companies must not use this moment as an excuse for profiting by not passing along savings at the pump,” Biden said.
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But some cast doubt on claims of corporate price-gouging.
“It’s utter nonsense that oil and gasoline prices move in a 1:1 relationship. There are other bottlenecks and factors that go into the sticker price of gasoline like transporting it to a refinery and sourcing other chemicals that go into the final product, as well as general lags in a supply chain,” E.J. Antoni, research fellow for Regional Economics at The Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Biden’s other two stated measures to bring down inflation include urging Congress to act to “to reduce the cost of everyday expenses” and opposing “any efforts by Republicans to make things worse by raising taxes on working people.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, an important swing vote for any potential vote on President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, had a different tone than Biden: excessive spending is the problem.
“No matter what spending aspirations some in Congress may have, it is clear to anyone who visits a grocery store or a gas station that we cannot add any more fuel to this inflation fire,” Manchin said in a statement.