US Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says Fed waited too long to take action on inflation

Jun 17, 2022, 4:45 AM
(KTAR News Photo/Balin Overstolz-McNair)...
(KTAR News Photo/Balin Overstolz-McNair)
(KTAR News Photo/Balin Overstolz-McNair)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said Thursday the Federal Reserve waited too long to take substantial action to slow high inflation.

On Wednesday, the Fed raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point — the largest bump since 1994 — and said more rate hikes were likely to come in the near future.

“The reality is — and I think others share my opinion here — that we wish the Fed had taken some action sooner before this crisis got as bad as it is,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

The Biden administration in 2021 initially forecasted inflation to be a temporary problem, a stance Sinema, a Democrat, said she didn’t agree with.

The unusually large rate hike Wednesday came after data released Friday showed U.S. inflation rose last month to a four-decade high of 8.6% — a surprise jump that made financial markets uneasy about how the Fed would respond.

The Fed’s benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, will now be pegged to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% — and Fed policymakers forecast a doubling of that range by year’s end.

“I was waving a flag way back last year saying, ‘no, this is a real problem. It’s not going to be transitory,'” Sinema said.

“This is an issue that needs to be addressed and obviously the government has taken too long to address this.”

Sinema said she felt for Arizonans who are paying more for goods, especially gas and groceries, and vowed to work with the Biden administration on solutions.

Arizonans on average were paying $5.39 for a gallon of gas as of Thursday, above the U.S. average of $5.02, according to GasBuddy.

“I will continue to push the administration to take rational, reasonable steps faster and more effectively to actually help solve this, so that people can keep more of their own dollars in their pocket,” Sinema said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says Fed waited too long to take action on inflation