Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell surely expected to have some breathing room after taking the first step this month to dial back the Fed’s emergency aid for the economy.

Just a week later, though, the government reported that consumer prices grew over the previous 12 months by the most in three decades. The inflation spike has squeezed consumers, posed a threat to the Biden administration and intensified pressure on Powell to act.

Some economists — and some Fed officials — want the Fed to move faster to rein in its ultra-low-rate policies. Other policymakers favor a more patient approach to interest rates. The result is a split within the Fed that Powell will likely have to settle, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the economy.