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Rep. Elissa Slotkin greets President Biden as he arrives in Lansing, Michigan, last month. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Frontline Democrats in the House and Senate are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of urgency to combat rising prices, and are calling on President Biden to do more as consumers confront sticker shock ahead of the holidays.

Why it matters: The current party-line message on increasing inflation is that it's largely a product of the pandemic, and economists expect prices to come down early next year. However, many Democrats facing tough reelection fights think the Biden administration could be doing more to accelerate the process.

Driving the news: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), whose district voted for former President Trump in both 2016 and 2020, sent a letter to President Biden on Wednesday urging him to take immediate action to help address inflation.

She also offered him two concrete examples, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Axios.

  • "First, increase our diplomatic pressure on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ nations,” Slotkin wrote. “In particular, I'd urge you to work closely with the United Arab Emirates and other U.S. allies who might be willing to help counterbalance Saudi efforts to artificially and unnecessarily curb production."
  • "Second, I'd ask you to consider a release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a signal that could help push global markets in the right direction."
  • "With the steps outlined above, along with a range of other options, I believe you can begin to address the inflationary crisis affecting Americans today, ahead of the holidays. More than ever, I feel that your leadership is needed," she wrote.

The president has repeatedly addressed inflationary concerns in his recent public comments.

  • "Today’s economic reports showing unemployment continuing to fall, but consumer prices remain too high," Biden said last week in Baltimore. "Everything from a gallon of gas to loaf of bread costs more. And it’s worrisome, even though wages are going up."
  • "The administration is closely and directly monitoring the situation," a White House official told Axios. "[W]e’ve communicated with the FTC to crack down on illegal pricing — including a letter from President Biden to Chairwoman [Lina] Khan [Wednesday]."
  • "Additionally, we are engaging with countries and entities abroad like OPEC+ on increasing supply. We’re looking at all the tools in our arsenal, we’re very concerned about the impact of high energy prices on consumers," the official added.

Slotkin was previously a Middle East analyst for the CIA. She also worked at the Pentagon as acting assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs prior to running for Congress.

What they're saying: Slotkin told Axios her concerns heightened after spending time in her district last week.

  • "I feel like the signal was so strong from my district that they wanted their government working on this, that you would have every Cabinet secretary with a voice in this conversation out listening to people, talking to people, explaining what we're doing about it."
  • "I think that it's important that people understand that the administration has the same sense of urgency, and I think there could be more done," she said.

Other vulnerable Democrats have shared similar concerns.

  • "Inflation hits middle class, working class people hard. Obviously, I'm concerned, hopefully this is a short period of inflationary pressure," Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) told Axios.
  • “I'm worried about inflation. And I noticed that myself at the gas pump. Prices are going up, and I know that that's stressful for people, especially around the holidays,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) told Politico.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to incorporate White House comment.

Go deeper

Vulnerable Dems urge Congress to preempt 2022 Medicare cuts

Rep. Susan Wild. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vulnerable Democrats are urging President Biden and congressional leaders to act quickly to prevent the Medicare cuts that will take effect on the first day of the new year.

Why it matters: Congress has little time to act before the Medicare reimbursement cuts kick in on Jan. 1, 2022, and there’s currently no vehicle on the table to push the legislation through.

Congress' chip-funding pause raises alarms

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, a plea by the Commerce Secretary and growing desperation from industry officials, Congress still can't get a key bill that funds the U.S. chip business over the finish line.

Why it matters: With the global chip shortage continuing to crimp the economy, the semiconductor industry has ramped up pressure for funding of U.S.-based manufacturing facilities as one remedy.

14 hours ago - World

Report: Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect arrested in Paris

A person holding a candle and a picture of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a vigil outside of the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A man suspected of being a member of the hit squad that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018 was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Tuesday, according to AP.

The latest: French officials said they are still working to confirm the identity of the man authorities arrested, a spokesperson for France's national police told Axios.