Cotton, who serves on the Senate Joint Economic Committee, said the 6.2% increase in the consumer price index from this time last year was in part due to a labor shortage exacerbated by the trillions of dollars in pandemic relief funneled by the federal government into the economy.
“Stop spending trillions of dollars — that will of course drive an inflationary spiral,” Cotton told FOX Business in an interview. “If you spend more money and you don’t have people producing goods, of course, the inevitable outcome is going to be inflation.”
While Democrats pushed social stimulus as a way to stave off an economic collapse, Republicans have argued it has largely contributed to the U.S. labor shortages.
Though federal pandemic-related employment relief ended in September, job reports show employers still can’t hire enough workers.
The labor shortage has, in turn, affected the supply chain crisis as goods wait to be offloaded in U.S. ports. A historic employment low in the American trucking industry also means that even once goods hit warehouses for transport there are not enough drivers to deliver them.
President Biden on Wednesday claimed the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure package will address the nation’s supply chain woes over a three-month period by investing in U.S. ports and relieving shipping bottlenecks.
“We’re going to reduce congestion. We’re going to address repair and maintenance backlogs, deploy state-of-the-art technologies, and make our ports cleaner and more efficient. And we’re going to do the same with our airports and freight rail,” he said.
“This work is going to be critical as we implement the infrastructure bill and as we continue to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out by passing the Build Back Better plan,” he added.
But Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending package could face surmounting challenges.
Republicans have consistently objected to the spending package, but resistance from moderate Democrats is the biggest roadblock facing the president’s bill.
“D.C. can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., tweeted Wednesday, suggesting he may push for a smaller price tag to Build Back Better spending bill.
FOX Business could not reach Manchin for comment, but Cotton backed the West Virginian’s sentiments.
“Senator Manchin is right to be concerned about the highest inflation rate in 30 years,” he told FOX Business. “Joe Biden’s reckless taxing and spending bill should be dead on arrival in the Senate when inflation is running so hot, when families are spending more money each month at the pump or at the grocery store and feeling the pinch of this Biden inflation.”