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JEC Chairman Beyer on December CPI Data

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the December Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, a slower pace than in November (0.8 percent). Over the last 12 months, inflation has risen 7.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted. The index for gas prices, a major contributor to recent inflation numbers, went down by 0.5 percent in December.

“Our economy has exceeded expectations in its rebound from where we were just one year ago. A testament to the effective leadership of President Biden and Congressional Democrats, our economy has added 6.2 million jobs, the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.9%—down from nearly 15% in 2020—and unemployment claims remain near 50-year lows.

“But the pandemic continues to create enormous disruptions across the globe, and today’s CPI data make clear that the work is not done. Pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions combined with decades of declining public investment and private sector cost-cutting have caused prices to rise around the world and in the United States, straining household budgets, particularly for lower- and fixed-income workers. It is imperative that workers and families know that the president and Congress will use every tool at our disposal to address this challenge.

“Enacting the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was a first step to strengthening U.S. supply chains and bringing manufacturing back to the United States. But we must do more. The House-passed Build Back Better Act would make crucial investments to lower inflation and cut household costs by investing in workers, boosting productivity and making health care and child care more affordable—all while being fully paid for by asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.

“The economic recovery and the Federal Reserve’s actions will bring down short-term inflation in 2022, but the Build Back Better Act presents the best tool at Congress’s disposal to reduce inflationary pressure long term, build economic resilience and promote economic growth that is stronger, stable and more broadly shared.”

The Joint Economic Committee recently published a report detailing how the Build Back Better Act would reduce inflationary pressure and cut household costs and a new analysis of the progress under the Biden Administration to address supply chain challenges.