Republicans have seized on the rough inflation report to press their message that they are a better choice when it comes to the economy than Biden and the Democrats.
Here’s Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell:
Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, alludes to the Biden administration’s now-stalled “Build Back Better” proposal that would have spent big on fighting climate change, expanding social services and making a wide variety of other priorities a reality:
The Republican party’s Twitter account keeps its message to voters simple:
The message from the May inflation data released earlier today is simple: prices are continuing to increase in the world’s largest economy, meaning Biden’s public support will likely suffer even more than it already has.
The latest consumer price index data from the labor department is unlikely to change that dynamic. If anything, it could make it worse. Here are a few reasons why:
- Economists expected month-on-month inflation to accelerate compared to April and it did, but by one percent, which was a bigger rise than expected.
- That pushed prices compared to May 2021 up by 8.6 percent, its biggest gain since the 12-month period ending in December 1981.
- Most importantly, the year-on-year growth was evidence that the current inflation wave has not peaked, as some had hoped after the April data showed a deceleration in the price increases. Instead, the wave continues to rise, as this chart makes clear.
- Perhaps the most important takeaway from the data is that costs are accelerating for things American cannot avoid buying. Prices for groceries are up 1.4 percent compared to last month and 11.9 percent compared to May 2021. Gasoline prices have risen 4.1 percent from April and a whopping 48.7 percent compared to a year ago. Costs for Shelter — the category including rents one might pay for an apartment or house, and a particularly important contributor to overall inflation — are up 0.6 percent from last month and 5.5 percent compared to last year.
Biden has been trying to convince Americans the economy is better than it appears, pointing to much more positive trends in employment. But with the Federal Reserve committed to a campaign of potentially sharp interest rate increases to cut into inflation, the fear now is that the US economy is heading into a recession — a concern that has already triggered sharp selloffs on Wall Street.
The Biden administration will today announce the end of its requirement that people entering the country test negative for Covid-19, CNN is reporting, citing a senior administration official.
According to the network:
The move will go into effect for US-bound air travelers at midnight on Sunday.
The CDC is lifting the restriction that the travel industry had lobbied against for months after determining it was no longer necessary “based on the science and data,” the official said. The CDC will reassess its decision in 90 days and if officials decide they need to reinstate it, because of a concerning new variant, for example, will do so. The measure has been in place since January 2021.
The official said the Biden administration plans to work with airlines to ensure a smooth transition with the change, but it will likely be a welcome move for most in the industry.
Travel industry officials have been increasingly critical of the requirement in recent weeks and directly urged the Biden administration to end the measure, arguing it was having a chilling effect on an already fragile economy, according to Airlines for America chief Nick Calio, whose group met recently with White House officials.
The travel industry, and some scientific experts, said the policy had been out of date for months.
Lawmakers, including Democrats, had also advocated for lifting the requirement in recent weeks.
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said, “I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry.”
For those who were caught up in the insurrection, the January 6 committee hearing was a particularly difficult experience, The Guardian’s David Smith reports:
It was too much to take. Too much for a second time.
As the cavernous room filled with ugly cries and chants, police radio pleas for help, images of a human herd driven by a crazed impulse to beat police, smash windows and storm the US Capitol, survivors of that day held hands and wept.
Several members of the House of Representatives, who were trapped on a balcony in the chamber as the attack unfolded on 6 January 2021, sat together at Thursday’s opening public hearing held by the select committee investigating the insurrection.
When a carefully crafted video of that day’s carnage was played, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal watched haunted and spellbound and wiped a tear from her eye. When her colleague Cori Bush broke down, a tissue was passed along the line so she could wipe her eyes.
Washington politicians are going to spend a lot of time today reacting to last night’s blockbuster January 6 committee hearing, which was jam-packed with details of what happened that day. Maanvi Singh has this rundown to bring you up to speed:
The first primetime hearing from the House select committee investigating January 6 presented gut-wrenching footage of the insurrection, and a range of testimony to build a case that the attack on the Capitol was a planned coup fomented by Donald Trump.
After a year and half investigation, the committee sought to emphasize the horror of the attack and hold the former president and his allies accountable.
Here are some key takeaways from the night:
Attack on January 6 was the ‘culmination of an attempted coup’
Presenting an overview of the hearing and the ones to come, House select committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney presented their findings that the violent mob that descended on the Capitol was no spontaneous occurrence.
Video testimony from Donald Trump’s attorney general, his daughter, and other allies make the case that the former president was working to undermine the 2020 election results and foment backlash. “Any legal jargon you hear about ‘seditious conspiracy’, ‘obstruction of an official proceeding’, ‘conspiracy to defraud the United States’ boils down to this,” Thompson said. “January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup. A brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6, to overthrow the government. Violence was no accident. It represented Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”
Good morning, US Politics blog readers. Yesterday evening, the January 6 committee released a slew of new evidence showing how Donald Trump acted during and in the run-up to the attack on the Capitol. If you missed the hearing, you can watch it here.
The aftermath of those revelations will be one of today’s main stories, but that’s not all that’s going on:
- The labor department has released horrid inflation numbers that were worse than expected and sure to fuel public discontent with Joe Biden, whose approval is languishing at record lows.
- The president is meanwhile in Los Angeles and expected to sign a declaration on migration during his visit to the Summit of Americas, before heading to fundraising events with Democrats.
- Top state department official Erik Woodhouse will discuss the effectiveness of the western sanctions campaign against Russia at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council.
- Celebrity chef Jose Andres will be appearing on Capitol Hill for a hearing looking at the humanitarian response to the Ukraine war.