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Biden Says Inflation Is His ‘Top Domestic Priority’

Yet those efforts have done little to tame inflation, which is running at its fastest pace in 40 years, the result of snarled supply chains that have led to shortages of goods; Russia’s war in Ukraine, which is driving up energy prices; and rampant consumer demand.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told a Senate committee on Tuesday that she remained concerned about rising prices in the United States and that despite some predictions that inflation had peaked, it was not clear when prices would moderate. She pointed to the trajectory of the pandemic, lockdowns in China and shifting consumption patterns in the United States as important variables.

“The inflation outlook still remains quite uncertain,” Ms. Yellen said.

While the president’s ability to tackle inflation is limited — the primary tools for fighting increasing prices rest with the Federal Reserve — the rise in costs has become a talking point for Republicans and a political liability for Mr. Biden, whose approval ratings have slumped.

Republicans have sought to lay blame for inflation on the Biden administration and Democrats, viewing it as a winning issue ahead of the midterms. Republicans have pointed to the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that Congress passed last year, which extended stimulus payments and jobless benefits while pumping billions of dollars to states and cities at a time when the economy was already recovering.

“Biden might be living in an alternate reality, but voters are not, which is why they solely blame Biden and Democrats for the rising prices they see for everyday goods, gas and groceries,” Ms. McDaniel said. “The economy is on the ballot in November, and voters know Biden and Democrats are only making it worse.”

The Biden administration has blamed external factors for inflation, such as the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and the fallout from the war in Ukraine, and it has argued that Republicans are to blame for stimulus money that was approved during the Trump administration. The Biden administration has also accused companies of making matters worse by gouging prices to pad their profits.

For months, Mr. Biden has claimed credit for bringing down the federal deficit and has promoted raising taxes on corporations and the affluent, saying they have not paid their fair share. He has also blamed energy companies for profiteering without increasing production.

Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.

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