Inflation falls following Biden administration efforts to lower costs for Americans


As Biden and Democrats fight rising costs, Republicans are focused on restricting abortion rights and investigating federal law enforcement.

The Department of Labor on Thursday reported that average consumer prices in cities across the United States for December 2022 declined 0.1%, resulting in the largest such decrease since April 2020. The department noted that the biggest contributor to the price drop has been a drop in fuel prices, which fell by an average of 9.4% in December — continuing a steady decrease since prices reached an average high of $5 a gallon in the middle of the year.

Inflation continues to decline since the Biden administration and Democrats enacted policies designed to lower gas prices and the costs of such items as prescription drugs. President Joe Biden used his executive authority to ease fuel costs, while Democrats in Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act.

Touting his administration's accomplishments in reducing prices and inflation, Biden said during remarks at the White House on Jan. 12, "It all adds up to a real break for consumers, real breathing room for families, and more proof that my economic plan is working."

By contrast, Republicans in Congress have started the new session with an agenda focused on issues other than inflation and the economy. The first bill passed by Republicans under Speaker Kevin McCarthy would cut funding to the IRS.

Biden said on Thursday: "Like many Americans, I was disappointed that the very first bill Republicans in the House of Representatives passed would help wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes at the expense of ordinary middle-class taxpayers, and it would add $114 billion to the deficit. Their very first bill. House Republicans campaigned on inflation; they didn't say if elected their plan was to make inflation worse."

Instead of fighting inflation, Biden said, Republicans are planning to pass legislation that would abolish the IRS and impose a national sales tax. He said, "Go home and tell your moms. They're going to be really excited about that."

"Let me be clear: If any of these bills make it to my desk, I will veto them. I will flat veto them," Biden said.

The veto threat comes after a year of executive and legislative action aimed at combating the rise in costs for consumers and businesses caused by inflation.

Biden in March ordered the release of 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the course of 2022 to stabilize fuel prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

By the end of the year, gas prices had dropped to a 15-month low, and the administration said it expected to generate $4 billion in revenue from the sale of fuel reserves, which the Wall Street Journal described as a "windfall" in a Dec. 19 report.

Additionally, congressional Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act without any Republican votes, and Biden signed the law on Aug. 16. The new law includes provisions designed to cut the costs of medication for consumers, including a cap on the cost of prescriptions covered by Medicare and a $35 cap on insulin for Medicare recipients.

As these policies were being enacted, Republicans were attacking Biden over increased costs. In the "Commitment to America" agenda released by House Republicans in September, House Republicans blamed Democrats for creating "crisis after crisis: from crippling inflation and rampant crime to failing schools, border chaos, and disrespect for our nation across the globe," and said that if they gained the majority, they would "work to deliver an economy that's strong."

Other legislation under consideration by Republican leadership would further restrict abortion access. House Republicans have also said they would establish a committee to investigate federal law enforcement, whom they have criticized for prosecuting those who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and for investigating former President Donald Trump's possession of classified documents.

Republicans have indicated that they will also investigate President Biden's son Hunter Biden.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.