New cost of living numbers are out as a divided Congress must reach an agreement on a crucial decision

The Labor Department’s most recent report shows inflation is cooling, but not by enough.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:21 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A new report is out on inflation as Congress is facing a key decision that could determine the nation’s financial future.

The Labor Department report shows prices cooled in December by a modest .1%. President Joe Biden emphasized that means inflation is now at its lowest level since October 2021. Yet, the cost of living remains high. The consumer price index, which measures the cost of goods, rose 6.5% from last year.

House Democrats accuse Republicans of not making the economy their top priority.

“Let us do the business of the American people. Focus on kitchen table, pocketbook issues,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Republicans have argued inflation is fueled by government spending. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blames the democrats.

“I ask you and all Americans if you have a child and you give them a credit card and they spend the limit do you increase the limit again and again and again? When does it end?” said McCarthy.

That spending is bumping up against a key issue that could have catastrophic economic consequences. Congress has to decide to raise the debt ceiling as the nation barrels toward its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit.

“It’s a good question, will the Congress still be able to keep the lights on and the bills being paid? And for that, they will have to find ways to work together. They’ll have to find ways to compromise. They’ll have to find ways to make accommodations with the other party so that we can move forward as a country,” said Mark Carl Rom of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

The Treasury Department reports Congress has acted 78 times to raise or revise the debt limit since 1960. Forty-nine of those have happened under Republican presidents, 29 have happened under Democratic presidents.

“We have this debt ceiling that has to be raised from time to time so that the federal government can pay for the bills for the money it’s already spent. So Congress absolutely must raise the debt ceiling or the United States would go into default,” said Rom.