House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argued Friday that global inflation “starts with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” but that increased U.S. government spending on domestic social programs would help decrease the national debt and bring down inflation at home.
During the 2022 House Democratic Issues Conference, Pelosi referred to record gas prices in the U.S. as “Putin’s tax” and “Putin’s gas hike.” She said passing components of President Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar social policy bill, called the Build Back Better Act, which is all but dead due to moderates’ opposition, would make new investments in education and workforce development in a way that would eventually bring prices down.
Gas prices across the United States had been rising sharply long before Putin launched Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, since Biden’s first days in office when he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and “paused” oil and gas leases on federal lands via executive order. The Biden administration released 50 million barrels of oil from the National Strategic Reserve on November 23, 2021, in an attempt to alleviate growing pain at the pump. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The Biden administration released another 30 million barrels from the reserve in early March 2022.
“One other point that we’ll make about it is that what we are doing in our legislation, what we would do in the Build Back Better – seventeen Nobel laureates in economics said that legislation does not increase inflation. It is non-inflationary because of the way it is written,” Pelosi said.
“So when we’re having this discussion, it’s important to dispel some of those who say, well it’s the government spending – no, it isn’t,” she continued. “The government spending is doing the exact reverse, reducing the national debt. It is not inflationary.”
“We’re paying very close attention to it, but this starts with Putin because the global inflation for reasons beyond the gas price,” she continued. “Global inflation is something that we have to deal with globally, but we have our responsibility to deal with it at home, and we have legislation that does just that, by increasing supply and, again, creating jobs in a way that is not adding to inflation.”
Biden made similar comments during a Democratic retreat in Philadelphia on Friday.
“I’m sick of this stuff,” he said, gesturing with his hands to suggest he’d had it up to his neck. “The American people think the reason for inflation is the government spending more money. Simply not true.”
Meanwhile, experts say Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan along with problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including supply chain issues and rising demand, is helping hike prices, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Steven Rattner, a former Treasury Department official under the Obama administration, has called the spending in American Rescue Plan the “original sin” that caused inflation.
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