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Federal Reserve chairman undercuts White House's attempt to blame GOP for inflation problems

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell undercut the Biden administration's attempt to blame Republicans for soaring inflation on Wednesday.

What is the background?

Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden believed "that Republicans are AWOL on the fight against inflation at this pivotal moment in our economy."

The problem, Psaki indicated, was that Biden's nominations were not advancing quickly in the Senate (even though Democrats control the chamber).

"Everyone understands we need a full Federal Reserve Board — the first one in nearly a decade — to tackle inflation and bring prices down for American families," Psaki went on to say. "We believe Republicans need to do their jobs and show up to vote for these nominees."

One day earlier on Feb. 15, Psaki advanced a similar argument, suggesting Republicans are to blame for ongoing inflation problems.

"So Republicans are out there saying, 'Inflation is a problem. It’s a huge issue.' We agree. And then they’re not even bothering to show up to even vote against these nominees to the Federal Reserve. What message is that sending to the American public?" she said.

But what did Powell say?

During a press conference on Wednesday after the Fed raised interest rates, Powell was asked about Psaki's comments and the White House's attempt to deflect blame for inflation problems.

Fox Business reporter Ed Lawrence asked, "The impact that given you're not actually confirmed and Governor Brainard is not actually confirmed, has there been any impact on your job or the Fed's ability to handle inflation?"

Powell made it clear that Senate business, and the fact that key Fed officials remain unconfirmed, is not hindering the Fed.

"None whatsoever," Powell said.

Fed Chair Powell holds press conference following FOMC meeting youtu.be

Of course, the Biden administration has moved on from blaming supply chain issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and politics for the ongoing inflation crisis.

Last week, the administration began blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a message that Psaki reiterated on Wednesday.

"We continue to believe that the United States economy is positioned well to deal with the challenges ahead, even as we continue to monitor," she said. "Obviously there are events that impact the economy, including an invasion of a foreign country, and we're seeing that impact as well play out in the economic data."

On Wednesday, the Senate Banking Committee advanced all of Biden's nominees for the Federal Reserve to a floor vote.

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