Fact-check busts Republicans for wrongly blaming rising gas and lumber prices on Biden

Fact-check busts Republicans for wrongly blaming rising gas and lumber prices on Biden

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans are blaming President Joe Biden for rising gas and lumber prices in the United States. But Associated Press reporters Christopher Rugaber and Hope Yen fact-check those claims in an article published on May 26, pointing out why their claims are misleading.

"Gas prices have risen in recent weeks because a key pipeline was forced to close after a cyberattack," Rugaber and Yen explain. "And lumber shortages — which existed during former President Donald Trump's administration — were worsened by an unexpected housing boom."

The AP reporters go on to analyze some of McCarthy's recent statements.

In a May 24 blog post, McCarthy wrote, "Despite gas prices being at historic lows this time last year, the average price for a gallon of gas is currently an astounding $3.10. That's the highest it's been since 2014, the last time Joe Biden was in the White House."

But according to Rugaber and Yen, "Biden's policies aren't behind the price increases. Gas prices are up because of a rapid and unexpected bounce-back in demand, and because of lingering problems from the forced shutdown early this month of the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. McCarthy's comparison to a year ago is also misleading. Gasoline prices didn't fall at the time because of the Trump Administration, as Trump often claims; they plunged because of the coronavirus forcing people to abandon their offices, schools, business trips and vacations."

On May 20, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted, "Lumber prices have increased 400%. We have real problems.... (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi will do anything not to talk about the Biden failures."

But Rugaber and Yen explain why it is "wrong to link rising lumber prices to Biden," pointing out that "this spike" is "related to rising demand and a sharp economic rebound.

According to the AP reporters, "At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, sawmills actually cut their output of lumber, anticipating that sales of new homes would slow, according to economists at TD Bank. Instead, Americans — and families in other countries — sought more room during the quarantine and bought new homes or sought to renovate. That pushed up demand for lumber, even as supply was reduced, sending lumber prices higher…. Some of the price gains in lumber and other commodities reflect strong consumer demand for goods like housing and cars, which is actually a good sign for the economy."

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