Republicans are blasting President Joe Biden for the highest inflation increase in nearly 40 years, setting the stage for rising consumer costs to be a key issue in next year’s midterm elections.
On Friday, the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index rose by 6.8% without seasonal adjustments over a 12-month period ending in November, the fastest annual increase since 1982.
PELOSI: INFLATION NUMBERS 'ONLY ADD URGENCY' TO PASS BIDEN AGENDA
Rising inflation has plagued Biden in the first year of his presidency, taking a toll on his approval rating that has dropped across several major polls in recent weeks. Republicans, seeking to win majorities in the House and Senate in the midterm elections, blamed rising costs on Biden.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Build Back Broke agenda created historically high inflation, making Americans pay more for nearly everything this holiday season," said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, shortly after the release of the report.
“With skyrocketing prices at a 39-year high, a supply chain crisis, trillions in reckless spending, and tax hikes on families, Biden has lost the trust and confidence of the American people to get the economy working for them,” McDaniel said. “Americans can thank Biden and the Democrats for the most expensive holiday season on record.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee joined in, saying: "Democrats are causing prices on everyday goods, like gas and groceries, to skyrocket, and it’s hitting American families where it hurts … It’s a real-world problem for hard-working American families and now it’s a political problem for Democrats, whose entire agenda is built on inflation-inducing government spending."
The Republican Governors Association also hit Biden and Democrats for the rise in inflation, writing in a press release: “What is Joe Biden, Washington Democrats, and Democrat governors' response? Press on with supporting reckless federal spending and their job-killing energy policies. Democrats don’t believe they need to course correct before these problems get any worse.”
The Biden administration pushed back Friday, painting the issues leading to inflation as temporary.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said Friday at a press briefing there have been improvements even since the data were gathered.
“This makes passing Build Back Better even more imperative, even more important,” Psaki said of the president’s sweeping social spending legislation currently under consideration in the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently oversaw the bill’s passage in that chamber, said Friday the report adds “urgency” for the Senate to pass the spending bill as well.
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Senate Democrats seek to pass the bill before Christmas, but they have yet to secure the support of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who has objected to portions of the bill, citing in part his concerns about inflation. Manchin’s support would be crucial to the bill’s passage by the Senate, as no Republicans are expected to support the legislation. Congressional Republicans argued the same agenda is responsible for rising consumer costs.
Colin Reed, a veteran Republican strategist, told Fox Business: "When you cut through all the noise and chatter, next year’s midterms will in all likelihood hinge on the state of the economy. Right now, the warning signs are flashing red for President Biden and the party in change. When you control the government, you own the results."