President Joe Biden defended his handling of the economy hours after a key economic report found that progress on slowing inflation has stalled, a continued bane on Biden’s presidency.

US consumer prices picked up again last month, marking a 3.5% increase for the 12 months ended in March, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inflation has dogged the president and his approval ratings on the economy have suffered as prices have soared following the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden pointed to success “dramatically” reducing the rate of inflation from 9% to 3% as he sought to convince Americans that “we’re better situated than we were when we took office, where inflation was skyrocketing.”

Inflation, however, began to rise in 2021 – Biden’s first year as president – as normalcy began to return to American life following the worst parts of the pandemic. It peaked in June 2022 as the rate of inflation reached 9.1%.

Republicans, he continued, have “no plan.”

“We have a plan to deal with it whereas the opposition – my opposition – talks about two things. They just want to cut taxes for the wealthy and raise taxes on other people. And so I think they have no plan. Our plan is one, I think, is so sustainable,” he told reporters in the Rose Garden.

The president stood by his prediction that there will be a cut in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, and that could happen “before the year is out,” though he cautioned that it could be delayed.

“We don’t know what the Fed is going to do for certain,” he reiterated.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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