President Biden has yet to make gains in slowing inflation, and data to be released Thursday could complicate White House efforts to show progress on rising prices.
The consumer price index is expected to show that overall inflation rose slightly faster in December than in November on an annual basis.
Yet “core” inflation – a key measure that strips out volatile food and energy prices – is expected to climb 3.8 percent over the year through December, down from 4 percent in November. If this happens, it will be the first time that the core index has fallen below 4 percent since May 2021.
But that restraint hasn’t stopped Mr Biden’s rivals from using higher prices as a weapon to criticize his economic leadership.
This week, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, former President Donald J. Trump blamed Mr Biden for rising prices as he campaigned in Iowa ahead of Monday’s caucuses.
“Our middle class is being crushed by Biden’s catastrophic inflation,” Mr Trump said on the Truth Social website.
Polls have shown that voters have a pessimistic view of Mr Biden’s economic record. Despite a strong labor market, high costs and interest rates have left Americans feeling poorer.
The politics of inflation have also infiltrated the Republican primary race, with Mr. Trump’s leading rivals, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, suggesting that Mr. Trump’s big spending policies when he was president set the stage. did. For higher prices.
“When it comes to getting our economy and inflation under control, the first thing we need to do is recoup more than $100 billion of unspent Covid dollars,” Ms. Haley said during a town hall hosted by CNN. who are still out there.” Week.
At a Fox News town hall this week, Mr. DeSantis blamed lawmakers from both parties for borrowing too much money during the pandemic, but said rising incomes in his state were helping people cope with “Biden inflation.”
Senior Biden administration officials hope that as inflation eases, voters will feel better about the economy.
“The Biden administration is doing everything possible to reduce the costs impacting Americans,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told reporters at an event in Virginia on Monday. “I think the sentiment will improve over time.”