Steil to Federal Reserve Chair Powell: Inflation Hurting Wisconsin Families

July 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01) questioned Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the rising cost of goods, inflation, and rising home prices. Watch Steil’s remarks and questioning from the House Financial Services Committee hearing with Chair Powell here.

Excerpt from Steil’s opening remarks:

Chair Powell, I want to stay on the topic of inflation.

As you know, I’ve been a broken record on this issue, because it’s important to Wisconsin families. 

In fact, I asked you about the prospect of rising inflation at this committee last July and again in December.

In those meetings you suggested that the Fed was not yet ready to take action to head off inflation. 

Yesterday we received more data confirming that prices are continuing to rise.

Last month’s increase in consumer prices of 5.4 percent (year-over-year) was the largest jump we’ve seen since August 2008, right before the financial crisis.

Inflation isn’t an abstract concern.

Regardless of what the White House social media team put out information that a Fourth of July barbeque went down $0.16 from last year. The Biden Administration can claim what they want, but families are seeing rapid price increases with their own eyes.

I know it is not your role to comment on fiscal policy, but I am very concerned with President Biden’s spending plans and its impact on inflation. Last month, an increase in consumer prices in 5.4% was the largest jump that we’ve seen since August of 2008 right before the financial crisis.

Over the past year, used cars have gotten almost 30 more expensive.

Plane tickets have gone up 24 percent. Shoes are 7.1 percent more expensive.  Coffee, sugar, cotton, and propane are all up double-digits. 

Higher materials costs have added $36,000 to the price of a new home.

I know you’ve responded to inflation concerns by saying that the price increases we’re seeing are temporary, and that they’ll subside as supply chains and labor markets return to normal after COVID.

But even if that’s partly the case, inflation expectations may be changing, raising the prospect of a more persistent impact.

In fact, in a poll conducted earlier this year, 87 percent of Americans said they were concerned about inflation

On Monday, the New York Fed reported that consumers expected to see higher inflation over the medium-term.