Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg suggested on Friday that passing $5 trillion in new spending — including the bipartisan infrastructure and reconciliation bills pending in Congress — would help mitigate rising gas prices and inflation more generally.
Price hikes that were at first dismissed as “transitory” have not yet subsided in crucial consumer sectors, and have been exacerbated by a supply chain crisis that has caused major delays in manufacturing and distribution nationwide.
Buttigieg made the comments during an exchange with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle.
“Is it a mistake to dismiss this as temporary when, in the moment, it hurts? It hurts for that person who’s paying up for a dishwasher that’s not going to arrive for three months,” noted Ruhle.
“This is something we take incredibly seriously, and there’s a technical issue over whether it’s considered structural or whether it’s considered temporary…It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to move this legislation through,” replied Buttigieg.
The transportation secretary, who recently returned from two months of paternity leave amid the supply-chain crisis, explained that government relief can ameliorate the price pressures Americans currently feel.
“Because if we can act to reduce the costs that Americans face: The cost of childcare, the cost of schooling, cost of access to pre-K, just literally putting more money in people’s pocket with the child tax credit that represents thousands of more dollars a year for most families with kids. That’s something that can help at a time when we see other issues like what’s going on in global oil markets increasing the prices people face,” he added.
As the cost of gas at the pump keeps rising, the White House has reportedly tried to negotiate with energy companies to lower fuel prices. Critics of the Biden administration’s economic strategy have blamed its cancellation of major domestic oil pipelines for curbing the country’s energy independence, and pointed out that profligate spending generally leads to higher prices.