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White House Downplays Upcoming Release of ‘Elevated’ Inflation Numbers

Biden White House continues to blame high inflation numbers on Russian war on Ukraine.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that high gas and food prices are largely a result of the war in Ukraine. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that high gas and food prices are largely a result of the war in Ukraine. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Monday said the administration expects a high inflation number when the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) is released Wednesday, but downplayed any fault of President Biden in the matter.

“On Wednesday, we have new CPI and inflation data, and we expect the headline number, which includes gas and food, to be highly elevated, mainly because gas prices were so elevated in June,” Jean-Pierre said. “Gas and food prices continue to be heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine.”

Jean-Pierre also called the data “backwards-looking” and “out of date,” noting that energy prices have come down from their peaks “and are expected to fall further.”

She added: “The average retail price of gas was 11% higher in June than it was in May, and the cost of gas in July is already down seven percent from the June peak.”

Jean-Pierre’s comments came as consumer expectations for where inflation will be one year from now climbed to another record high in June, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Expectations. The outlook for price gains is the highest since the survey’s inception in 2013. Despite that, three years from now, consumers see inflation cooling off slightly to 3.6% — down from the 3.9% recorded last month.

Meanwhile, Republicans are steadily attacking Democrats over inflation on the campaign trail. They attribute high inflation to massive government spending by Democrats, particularly Biden’s American Rescue Plan. 

Inflation is perhaps the largest contributor to a political environment in which Republicans are expecting to win big in November. 

“I’m very optimistic about the future election coming up in November. The number one issue is inflation,” Senate GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And in all the issues that people care about, they look to Republicans as the solution.”

Democrats and the White House initially said that inflation would be transitory in early 2021. But numbers kept rising until prices reached repeated 40-year highs.

“Over the period from 1991 to 2020, inflation, on average, ran near 2 percent, the Federal Reserve’s longer-run target,” Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said in remarks released Monday. “Today, inflation has climbed to 8.6 percent, the fastest pace in 40 years.1 For many younger Americans, high inflation is a novel experience, while for others, the situation may seem uncomfortably reminiscent of the 1970s.”

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