Biden Officials Acknowledge Inflation Pain, Vow Action to Tame Soaring Prices

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Senior Biden administration officials have acknowledged that soaring prices are hurting U.S. households and have promised action to tame runaway inflation that, they admitted, has persisted longer than anticipated.

In separate interviews, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg conceded that Americans were feeling the pain from inflation, which has been running at a 40-year high.

“Inflation’s a problem. I will grant you that, and we will get it under control because we’re going to stick with it until we do,” Raimondo said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Raimondo’s remarks were in response to an assertion by CNN host Jake Tapper that, as recently as six months ago, she had called inflation a “short-term problem” and that the persistence of high prices means she “got it wrong.”

While Raimondo acknowledged that prices have been higher for longer than she previously predicted, she pointed to unexpected factors, like the Russia–Ukraine conflict, that have kept inflation running high.

“I don’t think anyone predicted [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war in Ukraine or various other things that have happened that have been unexpected. I still think we will get inflation under control. We just have to stick with it and see it through,” she said, noting that gasoline prices were around $1.40 a gallon higher since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February.

While it’s unclear how much of an impact the war in Ukraine has had on U.S. retail gasoline prices, the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, recently estimated that the conflict has raised prices at the pump by “at least a dollar.”

Blaming the war in Ukraine for high prices in the United States has been a regular talking point on the part of President Joe Biden, who, in a June 4 Twitter post, once again referred to a “Putin Price Hike,” while arguing that actions like ordering the release of oil from the strategic stockpile have prevented gasoline prices from jumping even higher.

By Tom Ozimek

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