WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The White House is remaining optimistic and Republicans are sounding the alarm after U.S. consumer prices rose yet again in July, according to federal data.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the consumer price index for all urban consumers has increased 5.4% over the last year and inflation was up for the third month in a row.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announce that his administration is taking new steps to lower prices at the pump and the grocery store. Biden said his plan will “crack down on what some major players are doing in the economy that are keeping prices higher than they need be” and “put more money in your pocket.”
One aspect of the inflation, he said, is supply chain bottlenecks. He said he’s working to fix that.
“Bringing together port operators, shipping lines and the labor unions … to speed up the ports’ operation,” he said.
The White House insists higher prices are temporary and that the latest numbers show the economy is rebounding. But Republicans warn that if Democrats push their $3.5 trillion spending plan, which includes money for expanded Medicare, tax breaks for child care, clean energy initiatives and more, inflation could soar even higher and hurt the middle class.
“The last thing we need to be doing right now is pouring more fuel on that fire,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said. “I don’t think the American public wants this.”
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., defended the massive package. He said Wednesday that raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to bankroll the plan will ensure inflation rates do not spike.
“Some are worried about inflation,” he said. “The way to deal with that is to make sure you pay for it. We intend to pay for it.”
Still, some economists say inflation could remain a concern for the foreseeable future.