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Prices rising as lawmakers weigh how to proceed on infrastructure plan

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

woman in yellow tshirt and beige jacket holding a fruit stand

WASHINGTON (SBG) — From French fries to fish to fruit, the price you pay for just about everything now is going up. The Consumer Price Index has leaped to the highest levels since 2008, an increase of 4.2% over the last 12 months.

As more Americans get vaccinated and restaurants and retail reopen, economists say many are eager to spend, with businesses struggling to keep up with demand, therefore raising prices, though some economists say the big picture is important to consider since the numbers are compared to the same month a year ago.

“If we just go back in time, in April 2020 and think about what was happening in the economy then, that was the worst month of the COVID collapse,” said Josh Bivens, the director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

Still, if you’re planning a vacation now, expect to spend 10% more on airfare.

In the market for a new car? Good luck — fewer are getting built due to supply shortages, which means the cost of used cars are way up. The average price now is $25,463, the highest ever.

The numbers are giving new ammunition to Republicans who are opposed to President Joe Biden’s priorities, including a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, central to a high-level discussion at the White House Wednesday.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with the top two leaders in the House and Senate, with both sides expressing optimism about the meeting and reaching a deal. Still, Republicans are staunchly opposed to the price tag.

“The idea of spending more trillions of dollars into this economy when you have a supply constraint is actually the reverse of what you want to do,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the White House after the meeting wrapped up.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear raising taxes to pay for the plan is off the table.

“We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax bill. That’s our red line,” he said.

Some others blame rising prices on he latest round of coronavirus relief money.

“So now we have people with a lot of additional money they’re spending all that money it’s causing prices to rise rapidly,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

Democrats meanwhile, are hoping to go big, and insist raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans is the best way to cover the cost.

“If we’re gonna be competitive with china we do need an infrastructure investment, a serious infrastructure investment,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Weighing investment with inflation has now become a key concern in Washington.

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