The White House is preparing for “extraordinarily elevated” inflation numbers in Tuesday’s Labor Department report on consumer prices, a critical measure of rising costs.
Already on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was blaming the increase on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, which raised the price of gas and energy.
“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month. But we expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated, due to Putin’s price hike,” Ms. Psaki said.
The average price of a gallon of gas on Monday is $4.11, according to data from the automobile group AAA. That represents a decrease from last month when gas averaged $4.33 per gallon. However, it is still 50 cents per gallon higher than in late February.
The Consumer Price Index report due out Tuesday will be the first measure of inflation released since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24.
Wall Street analysts expect the release will show 8.4% inflation over the past year. That would be the highest inflation rate since December 1981.
The inflation rate for the year ending in February showed a 7.9% inflation rate.
Ms. Psaki called on Congress to pass several Biden administration proposals she said will reduce costs for Americans. Those proposals take aim at the costs of prescription drugs, child care, and college.
“I will say that any time there’s heightened monthly data or inflation reporting or numbers, it is a reminder to us, our allies on the Hill, and hopefully to many of the American people that we need to do more to reduce costs for the American people,” Ms. Psaki said.