Inflation remains at an elevated level not seen since the early 1980's, pushing up the costs of basic necessities -- food, gasoline, and housing -- and negating the pay raises that many Americans have received.
The Biden administration warned that the March consumer price index was likely to be "extraordinarily elevated" and indeed the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that prediction Tuesday, announcing the CPI jumped 8.5 percent, the largest year-over-year increase since December 1981.
Prices have been driven up by bottle necked supply chains, increased consumer demand and disruptions to global food and energy markets, made worse by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Administration officials say increased gasoline prices are the main reason inflation is so high and that Vladimir Putin is largely responsible for higher gas prices.
"We saw today's inflation data," said President Biden in Iowa Tuesday, "70 percent of the increase in prices in March came from Putin's price hike on gasoline."
Biden flew to corn-rich Iowa to announce that he is instructing the EPA to waive the rule that prohibits the sale of 15 percent ethanol -- E-15 -- in some states in the summer. He says, in those states, that could lower the cost of gas by as much as 10 cents a gallon.
"It's not going to solve all our problems," the president said, "but it's going to help some people, and I'm committed to doing whatever I can to help."
Republicans, however, reject the notion that the Russian president is responsible for high inflation in the U.S. Members of Oklahoma's Congressional delegation say the administration is just trying to shift the blame.
"Biden’s policies are the cause of these numbers," tweeted Senator James Lankford Tuesday, "and the high cost-of-living he’s created hurts every American."
“How long will Joe Biden let his policies bring hardship on American families?” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) in a statement Tuesday. “The more money Democrats spend, the less money you have in your wallet. This is a simple truth, yet Democrats refuse to see the relationship between government spending and inflation. I’m worried we’re on track for a repeat of the 70s, a full decade of crippling inflation and financial hardship."