Harold Hutchison on November 7, 2022
CNN host Jim Sciutto pressed White House communications director Kate Bedingfield about inflation Monday, asking what President Joe Biden would do if Democrats retained control of Congress.
“Voters hold those in power responsible, and the steps taken so far by the president have not moved, whether it be gas prices, but also other prices as well,” Sciutto told Bedingfield. “What would the president’s solution be if he were to maintain power in Congress? What would he do to change, to — to address the continuing rise in prices?”
The Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation, increased 8.2% year-to-year in September after rising by 8.3% in August, 8.6% in July, 9.1% in June and 8.5% in May. Some experts, including former Obama administration official Steven Rattner, have said the spending in legislation like the American Rescue Plan Biden signed into law in March 2021 helped send inflation to levels not seen for decades.
“Well, in fact, the steps he’s taken have brought gas prices down,” Bedingfield said, citing the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that is continuing through the midterm elections, a decision criticized by Republicans. Biden authorized the release of up to 180 million barrels of oil in March in an effort to lower gas prices.
A gallon of gas cost $3.804 according to AAA, up from $3.421 a year ago and $2.1218 on Nov. 3, 2020, according to AAA data. President Biden blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and oil companies at various times for high energy prices, but experts have said Biden’s hostility to fossil fuel production helped cause the increase in prices.
“He’s also focused on bringing prices down across the board. It’s why he got the Inflation Reduction Act passed. It’s brings down prescription drug costs, it brings down — it puts a cap on insulin,” Bedingfield said. “It’s when — you know the way he thinks about it is a family that is sitting around at their dining room table working through their budget, he is working to bring down costs where he can, so that where he’s able to lower costs, they’re able to put money toward things that they need. And that’s exactly what the Inflation Reduction Act did.”
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