AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – With a key inflation metric still north of 8%, Vice President Kamala Harris warned in an exclusive interview with News 4 that it will “take a bit of time” to lower costs to more respectable levels.

In August, consumer prices increased 8.3% over the previous year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this week. That number was down from July’s report (8.5%). It hit a four-decade peak in June at 9.1%.

“We’ve seen great trends, if you look at where everything is headed,” Harris told News 4’s Chris Horvatits. “We do believe that the work that we have been doing to bring prices down, to bring the cost down of living is something we’re seeing success with.

“But it is taking time. It will take a bit of time. But we are seeing steady progress. I think that’s what important.”

Harris was in Western New York Wednesday to tour the University at Buffalo and highlight the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August. It includes $370 billion to address the climate. Some of that involves tax credits and rebates for Americans who buy more energy efficient appliances and weatherize their home, fBiden says.

“We think about the costs of things in totality,” the vice president said.

Vice President Harris said she met with “some of the brightest young Americans” at UB who are studying ways to lay solar panels and build smarter structures.

“UB is doing some extraordinary work and really is a model of what we are and can do as a nation,” she said.

Local Republicans were unimpressed with Harris’ visit. Nick Langworthy, the New York State Republican Chairman and congressional candidate in the newly redrawn 23rd district, pointed to the stock market’s plunge on Tuesday as the new inflation numbers came out.

“All this visit does is showcase just how stunningly tone-deaf they are to the struggles Americans are facing and how desperately we need change this November,” Langworthy said. “It can’t come soon enough.” 

The economy is expected to be a key issue across the state and the country in the November midterms. According to an Emerson College/Nexstar/The Hill poll conducted in early September, 38% of New Yorkers said the economy will be the top issue on their minds as they head to the polls.

“Given that not one Republican in Congress – in the House or the Senate – voted in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act, I do believe that the Democrats are in good standing,” Harris said.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.