House Republicans demand top Biden economic adviser tackle 'burgeoning' inflation
20 GOP lawmakers warn the National Economic Council director about the threat of swiftly rising prices
A coalition of House Republicans is calling on President Biden's chief economic adviser to explain how the administration plans to combat the "burgeoning inflation crisis" as the White House pushes another $6 trillion in new spending.
In a Wednesday letter first obtained by FOX Business, a group of 20 GOP lawmakers warned National Economic Council Director Brian Deese about the threat of swiftly rising prices, arguing that more government funding will only hurt the economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The exponential rise in inflation since the Biden administration took office shows the clear consequences of massive deficit spending and the fallout from installing an extreme left-wing agenda," the Republicans, led by Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member James Comer, wrote. "In exchange for capitulating to the socialist wing of the Democrat party, the Biden Administration is harming the American people; they deserve better."
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The group accused Biden of pushing "trillions of dollars of taxpayer money out the door with little consideration of the adverse consequences," and cited Larry Summers, a top economic official in both the Clinton and Obama administrations who said that Biden's sprawling spending plans could set off inflationary pressures "of a kind we have not seen in a generation."
The Labor Department reported last month that U.S. consumer prices for goods and services surged 0.8% in April, the largest monthly increase in more than a decade and the fastest year-over-year jump since 2008. Excluding the volatile food and energy data, core inflation rose 0.9% in April and 3% over the past 12 months.
Republicans have seized onto the swiftly rising prices, as well as lackluster job creation in April, and linked it to Biden's massive spending plans.
"The obvious consequence of reckless government spending is inflation," the lawmakers wrote. "The price of gasoline, used cars, and food are all surging. … The Biden Administration appears to be content with hurting working Americans’ bottom line."
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Since the pandemic began more than one year ago, Congress has approved nearly $6 trillion in federal spending to keep the economy afloat, including the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Package passed by Democrats in March. The exorbitant level of spending pushed the nation's deficit to a record $3.1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year and a high of $1.7 trillion for the first half of fiscal 2021.
And there are no signs the spending will slow down anytime soon: Last week, Biden proposed a $6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022 that tallies up the administration's eight-year, $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan and incorporates them into the president's $1.5 trillion request for annual operating expenditures.
If approved by Congress, the spending proposal would push debt levels held by the public in 2024 to the highest levels since World War II.
The Republican lawmakers requested that Deese provide them with all documents and communications regarding the White House's plan to reduce inflation and reduce consumer prices and economic projections created by the administration no later than June 16, 2021.
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"Inflation is a regressive tax on hard-working Americans," they said. "Those families hardest hit by the burdensome Democrat COVID-19 lockdowns are now the ones hardest hit by the Biden Administration’s harmful economic policies."
The Federal Reserve, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, has acknowledged that easy monetary policy combined with fiscal spending will lead to a temporary increase in prices amid surging demand. But Powell has repeatedly waved away concerns of persistent inflation and has remained committed to holding interest rates near zero, where they have sat since March 2020.
Economic projections from policymakers' last meeting show that most officials expect rates to remain near zero through 2023.