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Buttigieg faced the ‘misnamed’ Inflation Reduction Act, a ritual amid high prices

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In an interview on “Squawk Box” Friday, CNBC host Joe Kernen pressed US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the White House’s celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act and its rhetoric about the legislation.

Last Tuesday, the Biden administration held a celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act on the White House lawn, the same day that higher-than-expected inflation in August was announced and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst day since June 2020.

“It’s not named the Climate Act, you’ve deliberately, and some say mistakenly, named it the Inflation Reduction Act, and you’re celebrating it on a day when inflation is again at a forty-year high.” Kernen told Buttigieg.

“And you know how that affects the people at the bottom, it’s like the most insidious problem the economy can face,” he continued.

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg does a television interview with CNBC outside the White House on October 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 13: US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg does a television interview with CNBC outside the White House on October 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Buttigieg defended the law and tried to portray it as an effort to lower costs for consumers.

“The worst thing about inflation is that people are by definition paying more for things, and this bill allows people to pay less,” Buttigieg responded.

According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Budget Model, the Inflation Reduction Act will have a negligible effect on inflation.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to the news media during a press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., on Nov. 8, 2021.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to the news media during a press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., on Nov. 8, 2021.
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Buttigieg himself admitted that not everything in the Inflation Reduction Act was inflation-related.

“Look, we can have a whole conversation over a drink about how the bills are named, the acronyms they come in, the names we come up with, I understand that,” he said. “There are a lot of different things that are part of this bill, some of which are related to inflation, but in my view, all of them are going to make a huge, very positive and historic difference for the American people.”

President Biden speaks about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

President Biden speaks about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Andrew Hornick)

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The inflation rate was 8.3 percent in August, according to consumer price index data released by the Labor Department earlier this month. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was reappointed to the position by President Biden last year, has said the Fed will raise interest rates for how long to curb inflation, which could make America endure a recession.

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