CNN anchor Jake Tapper cornered White House economic adviser Cecilia Rouse, asking why members of President Joe Biden’s administration kept touting all the “tools” they could use to tackle inflation if they weren’t going to actually use them.
Rouse joined Tapper for Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Lead,” where they discussed the most recent economic numbers. Inflation through the month of June was up 9.1% year over year — over the 8.8% predicted by Dow Jones — and Tapper pressed Rouse on the fact that while the Biden administration was quick to talk about the tools they could use to bring those numbers down, they didn’t seem to be using any of those tools to any great effect.
"I just feel like every month one of you nice people from the White House comes on the show to talk about inflation, and you talk about these tools in the president’s tool kit and you don’t use them," @jaketapper challenges WH Econ Adviser. pic.twitter.com/VwxgfhVgwO
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) July 14, 2022
“There’s no question inflation is the number one economic challenge we’re facing in this country right now. That is why combatting inflation is the president’s number one priority,” Rouse began.
Tapper noted that cutting the tariffs that former President Donald Trump placed on Chinese goods could bring some prices down – and asked whether Biden was leaving those in place because labor unions liked them.
“There’s a variety of estimates as to what the impact of rolling back the tariffs would have on the price levels. And we understand it would have at least a modest effect on price levels. But the president is reviewing the tariffs. It is complicated,” Rouse replied.
“I just feel like every month one of you nice people from the White House comes on the show to talk about inflation, and you talk about these tools in the president’s tool kit and you don’t use them. You don’t use these tools. And you know, there’s debating and discussing going on, and meanwhile, prices are still going up,” Tapper pushed back then.
Rouse pointed to the fact that President Biden was traveling in the Middle East, working to encourage other oil-producing nations to put greater quantities of oil into the market in order to drive down the global cost of gas. She also argued that a number of policy changes that could help ease inflation would require Congress to act as well.
“He’s the Democratic president and the Congress is controlled by Democrats, so it’s not as though you don’t have each other’s phone numbers,” Tapper replied.