ABC News anchor Jonathan Karl confronted White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Sunday over the "Orwellian" narrative the Biden administration pushed on the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.
What is the background?
Despite its name, multiple nonpartisan analyses have determined the inflationary impact of the Inflation Reduction Act will be negligible at best.
For example, the Penn Wharton Budget Model explains the bill "would have no meaningful effect on inflation in the near term but would reduce inflation by around 0.1 percentage points by the middle of the first decade. These point estimates, however, are not statistically different from zero, indicating a low level of confidence that the legislation would have any measurable impact on inflation."
Even more important, the CBO reached the same conclusion.
"In calendar year 2022, enacting the bill would have a negligible effect on inflation, in CBO’s assessment. In calendar year 2023, inflation would probably be between 0.1 percentage point lower and 0.1 percentage point higher under the bill than it would be under current law, CBO estimates," CBO Director Phillip Swagel explained in a letter.
What happened with Jean-Pierre?
During an interview on ABC News' "This Week," Jean-Pierre was forced to explain the contradiction between the analyses and the White House's messaging.
"Let me ask you: It's called the Inflation Reduction Act, but the Congressional Budget Office, which is nonpartisan, said that there would be a negligible impact on inflation this year and barely impact inflation at all next year. I mean, isn't it almost Orwellian?" Karl asked.
"How can you call it Inflation Reduction Act when the nonpartisan experts say it’s not going to bring inflation down?" he pressed.
The question caused Jean-Pierre to stumble, and in her rebuttal, she failed to address the CBO's report.
"We've actually addressed this, the CBO. It was the top-line number. There's more in there that shows that it will have the money from —" Jean-Pierre responded before pivoting to a different aspect of the bill.
"Remember how we're doing this, too," she continued. "It's making sure that billionaires in corporate America are paying their fair share, making sure that it’s — that the tax code is a little bit more fair, and so when you do that, when you put it in its totality, you will see that it will — it will bring down — lower the deficit, which will help fight inflation."
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Still, without directly addressing the CBO's analysis, Jean-Pierre claimed the bill will most definitely "fight inflation" because some politicians have said so.
"So you disagree with the assessment of the CBO?" Karl pushed back.
In the end, Jean-Pierre blamed Republicans for pushing a "false" argument, and she again claimed, without evidence, that it has been "proven" that the bill will "fight inflation."
"Well, there’s more to it," she told Karl. "It’s just — it was — the way that Republicans did that was so that it could make an argument that is false. It is going to fight inflation. It has been proven, it has been said by economists across the board on the Republican side and on the Democrat (sic) side."