Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said Thursday it is easy to be an armchair quarterback, but it was “pretty obvious” there was a mismatch between supply and demand in early 2021 so the Federal Reserve should have acted earlier to corral inflation.
Mr. Portman, a Republican, told CNBC that President Biden and Democrats overstimulated the economy with its $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief package last year while failing to provide regulatory relief to suppliers or generate enough energy.
“A lot of us said, ‘Look, the economy is already performing well coming out of the pandemic,’” Mr. Portman said. “I think it was pretty obvious what was going on.”
“It was obvious that we were seeing a big mismatch between demand and supply, and that’s when [the Fed] should have acted,” the senator told “Squawk Box.”
The senator spoke one day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point Wednesday, the highest increase in nearly three decades, in a bid to tackle inflation that continues to rise.
Mr. Portman said the Fed should be transparent about its thinking on monetary policy while being clear that its tools are limited and Congress has a role to play on the policy side.
The senator said oil companies need more certainty as Mr. Biden prods them to produce more gasoline to tame rising prices.
Mr. Portman said Mr. Biden pulled the rug out from under them by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and moved too quickly in shifting to green energy at a tumultuous time in the economy, resulting in limited supply and high gas prices.
“It’s really rough on people, it’s the most punitive tax of all,” Mr. Portman said.