Rep. Jayapal: We Don’t ‘Have to Reduce’ Gas Prices

On Thursday, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal appeared on MSNBC and answered a question about what congress should do about the skyrocketing gas prices.

She replied that,  “It isn’t really that you have to reduce the gas price, what you have to do is reduce the costs for families” and that reducing cost “doesn’t have to be through lowering gas prices. That’s what I’m saying with Build Back Better. If we lower costs, that’s what a family is looking at.”

Jayapal said they “are not talking about inflation, by the way. They’re talking about, hey, I don’t have enough money in my budget to pay for the things I need to pay for. And the reason I say it that way is because it’s really important to understand that if you’re on a fixed budget, as many people are, as I have been in my life, then what you’re always trying to do is balance what you have to spend with what you have in that budget. The way that we can fix that immediately while the supply chain issues are being worked out, while the economy recovers from COVID and the worst economic downturn we’ve seen in recent history is we can actually help families cut their costs. How do we do that? We pass the Build Back Better Act.”

She said that the provisions in the bill “are the things that are going to immediately affect people’s pocketbooks, and that is why it is so important to pass the Build Back Better Act, which, I think, is actually going to help people survive through this time of recovery. Let’s be clear, it is going to take time to recover. We knew that. We have made tremendous progress on COVID. But my families are telling me, look, I still don’t have child care. My kids are just starting to get vaccinated and go back to school. That’s the uncertainty that families are living with, and we have to respond by cutting their costs, which is exactly what we do in Build Back Better.”

MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked, “Is there anything you think the administration or you in Congress should attempt to do to alleviate the gas price pain temporarily?”

Jayapal replied, “I know that the administration is looking at all the options on the table. But again, I want to say that it isn’t — the gas price is an indication for families of other things that they are feeling. It isn’t really that you have to reduce the gas price, what you have to do is reduce the costs for families so that they can manage. Now, we just cannot over — gloss over the fact that wages have also risen. So, the actual impact that people are feeling right now is real, but it is also smaller. It’s the fear that people have. So, what can we do to alleviate that fear and any increase that they are seeing? It doesn’t have to be through lowering gas prices. That’s what I’m saying with Build Back Better. If we lower costs, that’s what a family is looking at. That’s what my families are saying, is, look, the gas is one thing, but if I can get my child care paid for, heck, I’m in. I’m good for that. So, that’s — I think that’s how we should be looking at it. And sometimes the economic views of inflation or massive rises in inflation, that’s not really how people experience things on the ground. And I just think that’s important to keep in mind.”

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