Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sounded an alarm Wednesday after new consumer data found that U.S. inflation had hit a 30-year high, giving Democrats fresh headaches on President Biden's social and climate spending plan.
Manchin, in a tweet, said that the "the threat" from inflation isn't temporary "and is instead getting worse."
"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 added.
Manchin's statement comes after the consumer price index, which tracks inflation for a range of staple goods and services, rose 0.9 percent last month and 6.2 percent in the 12-month period ending in October, the highest rate in the U.S. in 30 years.
Manchin doesn't mention Biden's spending plan in his statement, but it comes as he's raised concerns for months over inflation, questioning if a sweeping spending package would negatively impact the economy.
“Throughout the last three months, I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our nearly $29 trillion in national debt that no one else seems to care about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation,” Manchin said at a press conference earlier this month.
Manchin is the most conservative member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, but because Democrats are using reconciliation, an arcane budget process that lets them bypass the legislative filibuster, they need total unity from the 50-member caucus to pass the spending package.
Pushback from Manchin and other moderates has already led to changes in the bill, including dropping the price tag from the $3.5 trillion top-line figure greenlit by a budget resolution earlier this year.
But Manchin has signaled that he still has concerns and isn't yet ready to to back the spending bill.
"I have a lot of concerns, let's put it that way," Manchin said during an interview with Fox News last week. "They're working off the House bill. That's not going to be the bill I work off of."
Both the White House and top congressional Democrats have predicted that the Build Back Better spending legislation will help ease inflation, in a move to try to assuage Manchin's concerns and pushback against GOP talking points.
"As I have said repeatedly, when this bill is passed, it will be fully paid for and reduce — reduce — inflationary pressures. ... This will be just what the American people need, and it will not be — will not be — inflationary," Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week.
Biden, in a statement on Wednesday, urged Congress to pass the sweeping spending bill.
"Seventeen Nobel Prize winners in economics have said that my plan will 'ease inflationary pressures.' And my plan does this without raising taxes on those making less than $400,000 or adding to the federal debt," Biden said in a statement.