Sen. Joe Manchin, who’s key to congressional Democrats’ economic-policy efforts, on Wednesday sounded the alarm over inflation in the wake of a hotter-than-expected consumer-price reading for June.
The West Virginia Democrat has been negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on a so-called reconciliation package, and the pair have reportedly made progress on areas including lowering the cost of prescription drugs
and raising taxes on some high-income earners. Issues including tackling global warming, meanwhile, remain unresolved, the Hill reported.
In a statement after the government reported that surging gasoline prices
drove the rate of U.S. inflation to a nearly 41-year high in June, Manchin said: “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.”
Manchin last year blocked a roughly $2 trillion version of a Democratic bill, pressing for a smaller plan.
Hot inflation is a clear liability for congressional Democrats, with midterm elections approaching in November that could result in the end of their majorities in the House and Senate. President Joe Biden and his top economic advisers sought to downplay the impact of gasoline prices in the latest report, emphasizing the reduction in those prices since mid-June.
In his statement Manchin also said it’s time to “produce more energy at home.”