Senate

Manchin warns about inflation as Democrats pursue Biden spending bill

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Tuesday that he is concerned about inflation and warned his party against rushing President Biden’s climate and social spending bill.

Manchin, during a Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, indicated that he remains undecided on the spending bill and raised a red flag over the risks of inflation. 

The West Virginia senator, while speaking about inflation, said that “the unknown we are facing today is much greater than … this aspiration bill.”

“We’ve got to make sure we get this right. We can’t afford to continue to flood the market as we’ve done,” Manchin said.

Manchin’s comments come as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is keeping pressure on his own members to try to meet his deadline for passing the spending bill before Christmas. The administration has argued that the bill will help combat rising costs under inflation.

Democrats are still in negotiations with the parliamentarian, who offers guidance on if legislation complies with budget rules, as well as with each other. In addition to Manchin, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) hasn’t said if she would support the bill and other Democrats have raised concerns about specific pieces of the bill including the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap.

Manchin has sidestepped weighing in on the Christmas deadline, noting that he doesn’t have control over the schedule. But he previously wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this year calling for a strategic pause.

“I was concerned then, and I said let’s take a strategic pause,” Manchin said, noting that he still feels “strongly about that.”

Because Democrats are using budget reconciliation to try to pass the climate and social spending deal, they need total unity from all 50 members of their conference. They also need total unity, and Vice President Harris to break a tie, to bring the spending bill up for debate.

Manchin has voiced opposition to including paid leave in the bill, got an energy provision meant to incentivize companies to transition to clean energy dropped from the plan and has pushed back over a methane emission fee and an electric vehicle tax credit that would be larger for union-made vehicles.

Manchin knocked the use of the budget process by both parties to try to pass some of their biggest legislative priorities.

“It was never intended to be used for major policy changes,” he said.

Tags Charles Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema

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