Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is facing Congress one week after her headlining confession on cable news, admitting, “I was wrong [in 2021] about the path that inflation would take.” While her committee appearances in front of the Senate on Tuesday and House on Wednesday are to go over the president’s budget proposal, there’s something more pressing on Americans’ minds.
“The number one topic of discussion was inflation,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said at the start of Tuesday’s hearing.
“They are being hammered at the gas pump and in the grocery aisles,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, added.
Republicans blame a COVID-19 rescue package passed last year for fueling inflation over 8%.
“Democrats dumped $2 trillion of liberal waste onto our economy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Monday. “Their own experts told them not to do it.”
Democrats deny the rescue package is the source of 4-decade high inflation and credit the stimulus with aiding economic recovery. Still, the impact of inflation is undeniable at places like gas stations, where the national average hit a new record Tuesday of $4.92 per gallon.
“I think that bringing inflation down should be our No. 1 priority,” Yellen said at the hearing, while passing the buck mostly to the Federal Reserve to tame it. “I think we can complement that by deficit reduction.”
President Joe Biden’s budget proposal would hike taxes on the wealthy and corporations, which Yellen said Tuesday would help reduce the federal budget. Sen. Crapo argued that with economic uncertainty ahead, it is not the appropriate time to raise taxes.