The White House’s top economic adviser dismissed scrutiny Sunday that the Biden administration repeatedly downplayed inflation over the summer — as he worked overtime to instead tout the president’s Build Back Better agenda.
During a frank exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday morning, President Biden’s National Economic Council director Brian Deese insisted that he and his boss weren’t wrong to shrug off inflation as a short-term issue.
“Do you think that you and the president were wrong and inflation is not a short-term, pop up a little bit and then go back down issue?” Tapper bluntly asked Deese.
“No, I don’t think so, Jake,” Deese responded.
“I think what we have said consistently is that the pandemic and the economy are interlinked, and certainly we saw just as the Delta variant posed real health challenges to the economy, it also had economic impacts.”
President Biden in June said that “the overwhelming consensus” was that “it’s going to pop up a little bit and then go back down” — before finally acknowledging publicly Wednesday that soaring inflation was “worrisome.”
The top economist then dodged questions about when inflation will finally cool and instead spent Sunday morning minimizing the commander-in-chief’s role and pushing his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better agenda on a series of TV show appearances.
“There’s no doubt inflation is high right now. It’s affecting Americans’ pocketbooks. It’s affecting their outlook,” Deese said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“But it’s important that we put this in context. When the president took office, we were facing an all-out economic crisis,” he said, referring to pandemic-related shutdowns.
“That concern actually underscores why it’s so important to move forward on the Build Back Better bill that Congress is considering,” Deese then said Sunday in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
“This bill is actually going to address the core costs that American families are facing in child care, in housing, in health care,” added the economist, who served as deputy director of the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget.
However, Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyo.) was unconvinced, declaring the administration’s legislation would only make matters worse.
“The problem is the Democrats are now saying we want to all-in with this massive tax and spending bill, which is going to harm American families,” he said on ABC, appearing on the channel directly after Deese.
“People are going to pay higher prices, there are going to be higher taxes and of course we’re going to see an increase in the debt.
“The Republicans are heading in the right direction; the Democrats are going full speed ahead against the ideas of what the American people want.”
US inflation soared to a 30-year high in October, with prices jumping 6.2 percent from a year earlier.
It was the fifth straight month in which inflation surged more than 5 percent, year over year, under President Biden.
As a result, the commander-in-chief’s approval rating has plunged to a fresh low, according to a new poll released Sunday.
Just 41 percent of Americans approve of the commander-in-chief’s performance, down a whopping 11 points since spring, the Washington Post-ABC News poll found.
Driving the discontent is Biden’s handling of the economy — with almost three-quarters of those surveyed (70 percent) saying the economy is in bad shape, including 38 percent who characterize the state of the nation’s economy as “poor.”
The president’s overall approval of his handling of the economy sits at just 39 percent — and half of those surveyed blame the president directly for soaring inflation, according to the poll.