Janet Yellen Says Putin To Blame For 'Unacceptable' Inflation

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a hearing
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News & Politics
Damir Mujezinovic

The rate of inflation in May was slightly lower than in March and April but remains alarmingly high and at levels unseen in over four decades.

But it is not just Americans who are experiencing the consequences of high inflation -- the whole world is, according to United States secretary of the treasury Janet Yellen.

Yellen -- who was appointed to her position under President Joe Biden -- testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

Here's what she had to say.

What Yellen Said

As reported by CNN, Yellen told lawmakers that inflation in the U.S. is currently at "unacceptable levels," but noted that countries around the world are experiencing the same issue.

She added that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is what shook the global markets, created disruptions, and boosted inflation everywhere.

"Putin's war in Ukraine is having impacts on energy and food prices globally. We are not the only country experiencing inflation. You can see that in virtually every developed country around the world," she said.

Yellen Defends Biden

President Joe Biden during a news conference
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Republican lawmakers have blamed near-record inflation on Biden, describing his economic policies as inadequate and damaging.

At the same time, they have criticized Biden and officials in his administration for failing to curb inflation after it became apparent that it was not transitory.

Yellen defended Biden at the hearing, pointing out that his administration released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to boost supply.

"Energy and gasoline prices, while very high, they would be higher without that," she said.

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen looks on
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At the hearing, Yellen acknowledged that the U.S. faces certain "macroeconomic challenges," and urged lawmakers to work together and take action.

"I believe there's a lot that Congress can do to ease the cost burdens that households are experiencing," the treasury secretary said, noting that Congress could pass legislation to lower prescription drug costs, help working families, and invest resources in affordable housing.

She stressed, however, that it is "virtually impossible for us to insulate ourselves from shocks like the ones that are occurring in Russia that move global oil prices."

What Is Biden's Plan?

Biden laid out his plan for fighting inflation in a column for The Wall Street Journal.

The president touted his administration's economic policies, noting that the job market is the strongest it has been since World War II and stressing that the U.S. is still "in a better economic position than almost any other country."

Biden vowed to "take every practical step" to lower prices but stressed that officials at the Federal Reserve need to be allowed to do their job without outside interference.

He added that solving supply chain issues, improving infrastructure, making housing affordable, and reducing the federal deficit -- which he plans to do -- should help bring inflation under control.