Biden advisors say pandemic fueling inflation

TREASURY SECRETARY JANET YELLEN: “We are seeing some big increases in prices.”

U.S. President Joe Biden’s economic advisors defended his policies on Sunday, saying rising inflation is a global issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic, not a result of the administration’s programs.

U.S. consumer prices last week posted their biggest annual gain in 31 years, driven by surges in the cost of gasoline and other goods.

Republicans have pounced on inflation worries, claiming that the increase reflects Biden’s sweeping spending agenda.

On Monday, Biden is scheduled to sign a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that is expected to create jobs across the country to fix crumbling bridges and roads and expand broadband internet access.

In separate television appearances Sunday, White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese and U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said they expect the measure, as well at the yet-to-be voted on Build Back Better bill, will help bring down inflation.

SECRETARY YELLEN: “When the economy recovers enough from COVID, the demand patterns, people go back to eating out, traveling more, spending more on services, and the demand for products, for goods begins to go back to normal.”

Yellen added that she expects prices to go back to normal by the second half of 2022, if the pandemic continues to wane.

Deese said he was confident that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would bring Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” domestic spending plan to a vote this week.

The White House regularly cites support for the Build Back Better plan from 17 Nobel laureates who say it will ease longer-term inflation.

That will only be a first step, however, as the Senate has not yet taken up the bill, and Democratic divisions could threaten its chances in that chamber.

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