During her testimony in front of two separate Congressional committees this week, GOP lawmakers hammered Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about her 2021 statements that inflation would only be a minor issue.
"Is there a risk of inflation? You responded, 'I think there's a small risk,'" Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said to Yellen during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, referring to comments she made early last year. "Given that, it makes me wonder why Americans should put any confidence in your pronouncements and decisions and recommendations today."
Barrasso was referring to comments Yellen made in separate interviews in 2021 for ABC News and the Wall Street Journal where she minimized the risk of future inflation in the country.
Yellen made the comments Barrasso quoted her on during an interview on ABC News, and then said "I don't anticipate that inflation is going to be a problem, but it is something we are watching very carefully," in a video interview with the Journal.
When confronted with her previous statements on CNN at the end of May, Yellen told interviewer Wolf Blitzer that she was "wrong" in her prediction.
"I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take," she told Blitzer. "There have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices."
In a seeming about-face during the Senate hearing this week, Yellen said that inflation is the "top" problem facing the country.
"Inflation is really our top economic problem at this point, and it's critical that we address it," she said.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said that the $2 billion spent by President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats as part of the American Rescue Plan in 2021 "overheated" the economy, contributing to the record high rate of inflation.
"I think that there's no question that the $2 trillion bill last year overheated the economy, and it's why we have the mess that we have today," he said.
During testimony in front of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., said the administration was being "tone deaf" about the issue, according to a report from The Hill.
"As I listened to you here today, and I look at what's not been done by this administration, it's really perplexing in a lot of ways on whether the administration is tone deaf or unaware or becoming aware right now," the news outlet reported LaHood said during Wednesday's hearing. "I go back, and I look at what President (Barack) Obama's Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, said, alerting the administration in February of 2021 about the fear of this and what was going to happen, and why something wasn't done there."
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