DNC adviser claims Republicans responsible for inflation because of opposition to Build Back Better

DNC Senior Adviser and former Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., appeared on CNN Tuesday, where he was asked by “The Lead” host Jake Tapper if the Biden administration bore any responsibility for rising costs in the United States. Tapper added economists predicted Biden’s massive spending agenda could inject too much money into the economy, thus exacerbating inflation. 

Richmond flatly denied the administration had contributed to U.S. inflation and pointed to Biden’s three-pronged plan to pull the U.S. out of the economic and social damages of the coronavirus pandemic, citing the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure package Biden signed into law.

President Biden speaks about inflation and supply chain issues at the Port of Los Angeles, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Los Angeles. 

President Biden speaks about inflation and supply chain issues at the Port of Los Angeles, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Los Angeles.  ((AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes))

But Richmond said the third prong, Biden’s Build Back Better plan, was unsuccessful, and would have lowered the cost of eldercare, childcare, and healthcare. Richmond considered these things “household costs” in his on-air response, and he blamed Republicans for inflation and for not helping to lower “household costs” by passing Biden’s agenda. 

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“All of the economists said if we passed the last portion of it [it would lower those costs] and so what you have is Republicans purposely obstructing it and keeping it from happening, then at the same time saying inflation is high,” Richmond told Tapper. 

He added the administration knows it has work to do on inflation, but Republicans, for the sake of opposition, have shot down legislation that has “continued to spark” inflation. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key infrastructure negotiator, signals to his staff as he works behind closed doors with other Democrats in a basement room at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key infrastructure negotiator, signals to his staff as he works behind closed doors with other Democrats in a basement room at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.  ((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

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Democrats narrowly control both chambers of Congress but have been stifled on passing the sprawling social policy package. Biden’s Build Back Better would have passed were it not for the opposition of two Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The DNC adviser’s claim that economists believed Build Back Better would lower costs, and not contribute to inflation, is questionable. Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said in November that “no economist” believed the plan would make inflation worse. 

Her claim contradicted economists from institutions such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, who noted that the economy seemed to be “operating pretty close to its capacity constraints.”

Former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers also expressed his concerns about the administration’s chance of prodding inflation. 

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Karine Jean-Pierre, the current White House press secretary, was asked the same question as Richmond on Tuesday by CNN’s Don Lemon, who wondered if injecting too much money into the economy, and the administration’s role regarding inflation. 

She claimed that gas prices and rising food costs were singularly attributable to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and touted the American Rescue Plan as a tool to neutralize inflation, rather than a catalyst for it. 

“So, first of all, the American Rescue Plan met the moment, and it has put us in a place where we can actually put us in a place where the American people feel – can actually, we can take on inflation. What I mean by that is we’ve seen growth, right, with as I mentioned more than 8 million jobs. Now we’re transitioning into steady, stable growth,” she told Lemon.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

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