Consumer prices on many goods have dropped in recent weeks, a sign that steps to curb inflation are working. House Republicans who ran for office on a promise to lower costs have done virtually nothing to help solve the problem.
In a story titled “Goods Deflation Is Back. It Could Speed Inflation’s Return to 2%,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 3. that consumer prices are down for durable goods, including appliances, furniture, and used cars, and supply chains are again functioning properly.
“We’ve been in a pretty steep inflationary environment the last couple of years. So it’s good to see some of these prices come back in line,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., told the outlet.
The inflationary spike began in 2020 under President Donald Trump as the coronavirus pandemic caused significant supply chain disruptions. Energy prices rose in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine and the United States halted imports of Russian oil and gas.
Though economists disputed whether President Joe Biden’s economic policies or federal spending were a major cause of inflation, in the leadup to the 2022 midterm elections, Republican candidates pinned the blame on Biden and Democratic lawmakers. They promised that if voters gave them majorities in Congress, they would focus on lowering prices for consumers.
“Everyone knew that wasteful Washington spending would spur inflation,” the House Republican Conference wrote in its Commitment to America plan, pledging to “Fight Inflation and Lower the Cost of Living,” to “Make America Energy Independent and Reduce Gas Prices,” and to “Strengthen the Supply Chain and End Dependence on China.”
“President Biden and Speaker Pelosi have made people’s lives more expensive and communities less safe,” claimed Michigan Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in a September 2022 tweet. “The Commitment to America is all about getting our country back on track.”
“President Biden’s inflationary spending is costing you and your loved ones 20% more on Thanksgiving spending,” tweeted Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly that November. “Thankfully, @HouseGOP #CommitmentToAmerica agenda will get our economy back on track.”
Biden and the Democratic-led House and Senate enacted laws in 2021 and 2022 to lower costs for health care, make clean energy more affordable, and shore up supply chains, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. The majority of Republicans opposed all three.
Inflation began to ease after its June 2022 peak, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and has continued to ease almost every month since. Gas prices have also dropped significantly in recent months.
Even after winning a majority in the House, Republicans did not keep their promise to focus on lowering costs. Instead, they spent weeks arguing with each other about who should be House speaker, considering right-wing social policies, and pursuing a baseless impeachment effort against Biden. Of the fewer than 25 laws enacted since the start of January, none has been primarily focused on consumer cost reductions.
Rather than credit Biden for the progress in fighting inflation, the House GOP continues to attack him.
“‘Bidenomics’ is costing all Americans,” tweeted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Monday, citing “Higher prices for groceries, gas, and mortgage costs.”
A week earlier, Johnson said the House would vote to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into BIden. Johnson previously called the January 2020 impeachment of Trump “a baseless political attack.”