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WASHINGTON–Inflation is as high as it’s been since 1981, with a 9.1 percent increase since last year of prices, according to the government’s consumer price index. Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind) blames the Biden administration and Democrats, saying the solution is to have fewer regulations and allow a free market to operate in a free manner.

Republicans have been blaming the administration. Democrats have been blaming the war in Ukraine and oil and gas companies.

Pence, who represents Indiana’s 6th District, essentially much of the eastern side of the state, in DC, said he and colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee could see it coming, even when Pres. Biden was just a candidate, saying in debates that he would shut down pipelines, off-shore drilling and permits.

LISTEN: Congressman Greg Pence talks inflation and solutions

“When he began that 18 or 19 months ago, we said in the Energy and Commerce Committee that this was gonna have a negative impact just like it did in 1973 and ’79,” said Pence. He said that those moves, combined with the flooding of the economy with money from the American Rescue Plan and the infrastructure bill, have been the chief causes of inflation.

Pence said he opposed the American Rescue Plan, and said the infrastructure bill was unnecessary because of how much money was left over from the American Rescue Plan, being used for things like bike paths, community centers and bonuses.

“We ought to authorize the state and cities and counties to use those for true infrastructure bills,” he said. Pence said it’s his hope that Republicans will win back the majority of seats in Congress. “We have discussed, particularly in the Energy and Commerce Committee, that what we would do would be to try and redirect and repurpose those funds.”

That would essentially remove the earmarks, allowing the money to be used for what those local governments would consider necessary.

He said the Biden administration should also get out of the way of the operation of the free market.

“This regulation that they’re doing is…driving up prices for everything,” he said. Pence said even his garbage pickup has gone up 40 bucks per month. “Quit pointing the blame at the oil industry and the coal industry and the farmers and the retail gas people. Let the market get back and do what it does best.”

He said that’s getting supply equal to demand.

“I believe in all of the above and helping the environment. But, don’t do it be ruining our country’s economic base.”