By Allie Malloy and Kate Sullivan, CNN
However, Biden claimed, “there are also signs that we will make it through this challenge.”
“On higher prices, we have been using every tool at our disposal, and while today is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched in ways that create real stress at the kitchen table, there are also signs that we will make it through this challenge,” Biden said.
The consumer price index rose 7.5% in the 12 months ending January, not adjusted for seasonal swings, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday. It was the steepest annual price increase since February 1982 and worse than economists had forecast.
Biden reiterated forecasts that project inflation will ease substantially by the end of 2022.
The report comes as the US grapples with supply chain issues and high consumer prices as the economy struggles to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic anxiety among the American public has caused Biden’s approval ratings to drop significantly in recent months.
All this comes during a midterm election year where Democrats are trying to keep control of their very narrow majorities in Congress and Republicans have a real chance of flipping control.
In December, when a report was released that showed the consumer price index rose by 6.8%, the President said he believed the US was at the “peak” of the inflation crisis.
“It’s a real bump in the road. It does affect families when you walk into a grocery store and you’re paying more for whatever you’re purchasing — it matters. It matters to people when you’re paying more for gas, although in some states we’ve got the price down below three bucks a gallon, but the point is it’s not gone down quickly enough. But I think it will,” Biden told reporters at the White House. Since the President made those remarks, gas prices have risen to a seven-year high.
Later Thursday, Biden will travel to Virginia to make the case that lowering prescription drug prices will ultimately help ease inflation, a White House official told CNN. The President will argue that lowering the drug costs will ease one of the largest financial burdens American families face and will lead to more Americans working and the deficit being reduced.
Lowering prescription drug prices is a key piece of Biden’s massive economic and climate package, which is currently on ice on Capitol Hill. There is no clear timeline for the passage of the bill, and there are no official negotiations under way. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who torpedoed the bill in December because of his opposition, still refers to the package as “dead.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
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CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.