News Recap: They Said It on Sunday

October 17, 2022

headline news Photo by Ashni on Unsplash

In case you missed ’em—here’s what the newsmakers said on the Sunday morning talk shows.

White House on Defense Over New Inflation Numbers

Following disappointing news last week that the annual inflation rate had declined only slightly in September to 8.2%, while the consumer price index rose 0.4%, triggered by jumps in food, rent and medical care cost increases, members of the Biden Administration appeared on several of the Sunday shows to play defense.

“Inflation is very much the President’s top concern. It’s my top concern,” Cecilia Rouse, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on CNN’s State of the Union. She added that the Fed is focused on bringing down inflation, “and now the big concern is, can they bring down inflation while maintaining a robust economy, labor market? And we are starting to see signs that the options they’re taking are having an effect.”

Both Rouse and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who appeared on ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face the Nation, pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act as one way in which the Biden Administration was working to create, as Buttigieg put it, “more of that breathing room for American families.”

However, both Rouse and Buttigieg admitted that the Inflation Reduction Act would do nothing to tamp down inflation in the immediate term, with Rouse saying, “The main part of the bill will start to take effect next year.”

Economist: We’re at a “Walk and Chew Gum Moment” on Energy Transition

Another member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein, discussed inflation on FOX News Sunday.

Specifically, he noted that after ticking up about an average ten cents a gallon following a 99-day price drop, nationally gas prices have “started ticking back down again just a few cents just in the past few days, and it has to do with refineries coming online in the Midwest and California.”

He added, “I think the key story there is, is this Administration doing as much as we can to help increase the energy supply? And I think the answer is unequivocally, yes.”

Anchor Shannon Bream challenged him on this assertion, saying, “A lot of folks would say you could be helping with permitting and drilling and incurring domestic production.”

To this, Bernstein pointed out that the Administration had opened up new lands for leasing earlier this year while the Inflation Reduction Act “also invests $370 billion in hastening this very urgent transition to clean energy. So this is a walk and chew gum moment.”

Bream also asked if there was “a bottom” to releasing more oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). According to Bernstein, “There are still 400 million barrels of oil in the strategic reserve. It is more than half full.”

He said President Biden had released some 180 million barrels back in March, which was “the largest draw that we’ve ever done.” Whether Biden will release more in the near future, Bernstein said, “he hasn’t made that decision yet,” but factors like “the unconscionable actions of Putin weaponizing energy, amplified by the shortsighted and misguided decision by OPEC+” to slash oil production by two million barrels a day, make the SPR “an important tool.”

January 6 Committee Members on Trump Testifying

During its final televised hearing before Election Day, the House Select Subcommittee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection voted unanimously Thursday to subpoena former President Trump for questioning.

On Sunday, This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) if he’d be amenable to Trump testifying on live TV.

“I think that’s going to be a negotiation,” the Congressman replied.

Stephanopoulos then asked if the Justice Department should hold the former President in criminal contempt if he refuses to comply with the subpoena.

Kinzinger answered, “That’s a bridge we cross if we have to get there. You know, look, we well recognize the fact that because of the Committee only being able to exist to the end of this Congressional year because that was the mandate, we’re at a bit of a time limit here. And as we’re wrapping up the investigation, we’re also pursuing new leads and facts, and we want to speak to the President.”

He added that the Committee recognizes this is an “unprecedented” move by Congress, but “this isn’t about us. This is about the American people.”

On NBC’s Face the Nation, anchor Chuck Todd asked Committee member Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) about making a criminal referral to DOJ if Trump does not comply.

“I won’t engage in any hypotheticals at this moment, as the subpoena hasn’t yet even been served,” she said. “What I will say is that with previous subpoenas, what you’ve seen the Committee do is be very deliberate and take the response to our subpoenas on a case-by-case basis. And I imagine that we will also do that because we understand the seriousness of the charge of our Committee.”

Todd then asked why the Committee hasn’t subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence.

Murphy said that Pence, “through his counsel, has been engaged with the Committee. And we will continue to engage with him and make a determination, if necessary, in the future as it relates to the former Vice President.”

Ukrainian Ambassador: We’re “Prepared for Anything” from Russia

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said on Face the Nation that Ukraine is “focused on staying the course and defending our country everywhere and being prepared for anything that can come from the Russian Federation.”

Anchor Margaret Brennan asked her about the nuclear risk, from tactical weapons to dangers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

“We cannot rule out anything,” said Markarova. She added that the situation at the plant “deteriorates as it’s not returned to Ukraine” and plant personnel are threatened by the Russians.

As for nuclear weapons, she insisted, “We will not give up regardless of what Russian Federation uses against us. We have, I think, proven it, from rockets to atrocities to anything that they try to do in Ukraine. It doesn’t break our will.”

On State of the Union, anchor Dana Bash asked National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan if there would be a different response from the U.S. depending on the target, for instance if Russia were to blow up a small airport versus detonating a tactical nuke in the Black Sea.

“The use of a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine is the use of a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, and we’re not going to slice the salami,” he replied, adding, “the Black Sea includes the ports of Odesa and other cities from which the Ukrainians are currently exporting grain to the world market. So the notion that somehow there’s differences in use here, I think it’s a dangerous notion from our perspective.”

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