By Matt Egan, CNN Business
The campaign arm of House Republicans launched an ad blitz Wednesday that blames Democrats for rising prices on back-to-school supplies.
The back-to-school ads, first reported by Axios, target 15 vulnerable Democrats, including New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski, California Rep. Josh Harder and Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright. The ads call out rising prices for shoes, electronics and dresses.
“Democrats’ reckless economic policies have caused a massive spike in prices, and parents across the country are feeling the sting as they send their kids back to school,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmers said in a statement.
NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams told CNN the cost of the back-to-school ad campaign is in the mid-five figures.
“Voters know Democrats caused an inflation crisis, and we will continue to hold them accountable,” Emmers said in the statement.
It’s true that inflation is here. US consumer prices spiked by 5.4% over the 12 months ended in July. That tied with June for the fastest annual consumer inflation since 2008.
However, as CNN has previously reported, it’s misleading to suggest that Covid-19 stimulus packages are the only reason for rising prices. And before this year, many Republicans supported Trump-era stimulus packages aimed at reviving the economy from the pandemic.
Democrats accused the GOP of launching misleading inflation attacks.
“House Republicans are desperately misleading the American people in search of an excuse for abandoning families,” Chris Taylor, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN in a statement. He pointed out that every Republican in Congress voted against the expanded child tax credit.
The reality is that rising prices also reflect the nature of the crisis: a sudden shutdown of the economy followed by a rapid reopening. Not surprisingly, supply is having trouble catching up to surging demand.
At the same time, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at rock-bottom levels and pumped in aggressive stimulus even though prices have risen rapidly.
The Fed and White House, as well as many economists, argue that inflation will cool off as the economy continues to reopen.
— CNN’s Phil Mattingly contributed to this report
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