CNN’s Jake Tapper hit Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Cecilia Rouse on the Biden administration’s response to inflation Wednesday.
Tapper pressed Rouse on potential solutions to the continual rise in inflation, pointing to former Obama-era official Fred Hochberg in a Wall Street Journal op-ed suggesting that lifting former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products could benefit American households. Rouse said President Joe Biden is reviewing the tariffs, prompting the CNN host to say that the administration is not using the solutions and tools at their disposal to solve soaring costs.
“I just feel like every month, one of you nice people from the White House comes on this show to talk about inflation and you talk about these tools in the president’s tool kit and then you don’t use them! You don’t use these tools,” Tapper said. “There’s debating and discussing going on and meanwhile prices are still going up.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 9.1% in June, the highest rate in 40 years. White House officials, including the president himself, have claimed the measurement is “out-of-date” due to the gradual decrease of gas and energy prices.
Obtaining the greatest amount of oil possible is the solution to bringing down prices, Rouse told Tapper. She said the president will travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss oil production and has communicated with oil refineries to begin increasing refining capacity and oil production. (RELATED: CNN’s Jake Tapper Cuts Off White House Adviser Attempting To Pin Putin For High Gas Prices)
“This is a great time to talk about the rest of the the president’s economic plans,” she said. “He wants to work with Congress to reduce prescription prices, utility costs, health care costs. He wants to lower the deficit which we know also addresses inflation.”
Tapper said Biden has the advantage of getting his agenda passed with a Democratic-controlled Congress. He further pressed Rouse on the president’s previous remark that inflation reached its peak in December.
“It seems clear that the Biden administration has misjudged how bad inflation was going to get for months and months and months,” the CNN host said.
Rouse said the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic “exacerbated” inflation rates, leading the Federal Reserve to make movements to “generating price stability.” She claimed the policies are causing “nominal wage increases” and consumer spending moderation and predicted inflation will come down in coming months.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, I’m not going to tell you exactly the timing. The war in Ukraine is a big unknown,” she said. “But I can tell you this, we came into these challenges with record growth over last year, we still have a labor market that is very strong, and household balance sheets … they are stronger than they typically have been going into this rate hike period. Yes, we face challenges but we also come at it from a position of relative strength.”
The White House director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, has previously pinned Russian President Vladimir Putin for high prices and touted high manufacturing numbers. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently claimed the nation is “stronger economically than we have been in history,” pointing to the 3.6% unemployment rate and 8.7 million new jobs created during the country’s recovery from a global pandemic.
The White House has repeatedly blamed Putin for rising gas prices, though gasoline prices have been surging since at least November, where prices surged to their highest levels since 2014.