Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin slammed President Biden Wednesday for claiming the recent spike in prices on everyday goods is “transitory,” saying Washington can “no longer ignore” the impact inflation is having on Americans.
And the West Virginia Democrat — a key vote for Biden, who needs all 50 of his party’s senators to support his $1.75 trillion social spending bill — argued that the threat is “real” and “getting worse.”
“By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse,” Manchin tweeted, signaling he may call for additional changes in the bill. “From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.”
Manchin’s use of “transitory” was a reference to claims by Biden in July that most of the blame for price increases could be assigned to “transitory effects” linked to COVID-19 rather than long-term inflation-linked to deficit spending.
Earlier Wednesday, the Labor Department announced that its October Consumer Price Index had jumped 6.2 percent over the previous year, the biggest 12-month increase since 1990.
Manchin has previously sounded his alarm over multiple provisions in the package, even calling for a pause in the legislative process to assess what should be addressed in the measure. Those moves have succeeded in getting the bill’s topline number whittled down from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion.
Republicans have repeatedly blasted the reconciliation bill, alleging it will lead to record-breaking tax hikes and have long-term repercussions on the economy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) again applauded Manchin and centrist Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) for their pushback against the legislation.
“Two Senate Democrats are resisting—Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona — we’ll see how strong they are,” McConnell said in a radio interview. “They could kill the whole thing.”
House Democrats moved one step closer to passing the massive spending bill last week, but leaders ultimately opted not to put the measure on the floor due to a lack of support from moderates who want to see an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before voting for it.
Top Democrats are hoping to pass the bill as soon as next week, sending it to the Senate where it is likely to be heavily amended due to Sinema and Manchin’s intransigence in opposing certain language.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Biden acknowledged that “inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me.”
However, the president later urged Congress to move forward with the spending legislation, which he insisted was “fully paid for and does not add to the debt, and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs — alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans including for most families with children.”