Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday sounded the alarm after the latest inflation report showed a 9.1 percent jump in prices over the past year, saying that the skyrocketing costs now pose “a clear and present danger to our economy.”
The troubling inflation report and Manchin’s concern over steadily rising prices is a bad sign for the budget reconciliation package that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is trying to negotiate with the West Virginia senator.
Manchin has repeatedly pointed to inflation as a reason not to move forward on a budget reconciliation bill that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for new government programs and initiatives.
Manchin on Wednesday said his concerns about rising prices, which Democrats were slow to take seriously, were well-founded.
“For more than a year, leaders in Washington have ignored the serious concerns raised by myself and others about the rising cost of inflation,” he said in a statement.
“No matter what spending aspirations some in Congress may have, it is clear to anyone who visits a grocery store or a gas station that we cannot add any more fuel to this inflation fire,” he added, in a pointed message to fellow Democrats who want to add money to reduce health insurance premiums and raise the cap on state and local tax deductions.
Manchin and Schumer have agreed to a package of prescription drug pricing reforms that would raise revenue for the federal government as well as a 3.8 percent tax on income earned by wealthy individuals and families from pass-through businesses. The latter would raise more than $200 billion in revenue that would be used to extend the solvency of Medicare’s hospital trust fund.
But other initiatives, such as tax credits for electric vehicles, money to subsidize the cost of Affordable Care Act insurance plans and funding for renewable energy programs, now face greater headwinds because of Manchin’s reluctance to pump more money into the U.S. economy.
“Today’s inflation data illustrates the pain families across the country are feeling as costs continue to rise at a historic rate. 9.1 percent is cause for serious concern,” he said.
“Items like chicken, eggs and lunchmeat have increased to new highs, while energy costs rose more than 40 percent in June with those that can least afford it suffering the most. It is past time we put our country first and end this inflation crisis,” he urged colleagues.