Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act will improve living conditions in America and criticized the recent spike in flight cancellations across the U.S.
“Obviously, we’re very encouraged to see that 0% increase in CPI, but that’s just one month. So nobody’s spiking the football here,” Buttigieg told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview at Port Tampa Bay in Florida Tuesday while promoting a new $12.6 million grant. “What we need to see is a sustained cooling of that inflationary pressure and it can’t come soon enough.”
Buttigieg said the act will help lower costs for Americans, as the annual inflation rate has reached 9.1% for the past 12-month period that ended in June, according to data published in July by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Congressional Budget Office has stated that the Inflation Reduction Act would have a “negligible” effect on inflation in 2022, and very little effect on inflation in 2023, depending on other factors like the Federal Reserve.
But Buttigieg said the act would help alleviate the pain of inflation by lowering the costs of things like prescription drugs, insulin for Medicare subscribers, home utility bills, and electric vehicles.
“These are measures that make it more affordable to live in America, and that is part of the solution when it comes to inflation,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg also touted the Department of Transportation’s work backing passengers whose flights have been canceled over the last several months. The secretary’s statement comes as a new report Tuesday from flight tracking website FlightAware showed more than 2,500 flight cancellations on domestic and international flights.
“We enforce a requirement that when you get canceled like that, you’re entitled to a full cash refund. And if you’re not offered one, you can let us know as a department and we will follow up and enforce that,” Buttigieg said.
The secretary said he sympathized with Americans who have experienced flight cancellations recently, saying he himself had his flight canceled several times over the summer months.
Buttigieg outlined new guidelines expanding passengers’ rights during long delays and other external environmental factors.
“I’ve put [the airlines] on notice that we’re going to gather up some of the information about how they treat their customers, which means the next few days before we put up that website would be a great time for them to raise the bar on what they offer to passengers who get stranded,” said Buttigieg.
The secretary of Transportation made a stop in Tampa to talk about “RAISE”, a that is part of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. The grant is intended to add additional capacity to the port as well as 800 new full-time jobs. The grant will also reduce emissions at the Port Redwing facility.
Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act was signed by the president on Aug. 16, with many Democrats slamming GOP lawmakers for not backing the measure.
“With this law, the American people won, and the special interests lost,” Biden said during the signing.
Biden has stressed the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act will not raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 while also investing $369 billion in “Energy Security and Climate Change,” according to a summary by Senate Democrats.