Senate Democrat Manchin Raises Inflation Concern Over Biden's BBB Plan as Party Pushes to Pass Bill
21:09 GMT 13.12.2021 (Updated: 13:36 GMT 06.08.2022)
© REUTERS / Kevin LamarqueU.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) removes his mask to speak as bipartisan members of the Senate and House gather to announce a framework for fresh coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief legislation at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2020
The legislation was caught in heated debate over disagreement between "moderate" and "progressive" wings of the party, with the former demanding to scale back spending and the latter to keep its promises and boost social welfare.
US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has again raised concern over soaring inflation in the US, the cost of US President Joe Biden's Build Back Better (BBB) infrastructure bill and its impact on consumer price growth, which hit an almost 40-year high in November 2021.
The lawmaker, crucial to Democrat plans to pass the BBB, sounded his worries ahead of a phone call with Biden that will see the pair discuss the legislation.
"Inflation is real, it's not transitory. It's alarming. It's going up, not down. And I think that should be something we're concerned about [...] The unknown right now is very, very great", Manchin said.
The phone call with the president was scheduled as the Democratic Party scrambles to pass the infrastructure bill ahead of Christmas. Manchin, however, appears to be set to ignore the deadline, arguing that ongoing discussion surrounding the BBB bill will "allow us to prepare better".
Manchin is one of 50 Democrats in the US Senate whose support Biden and the party need if they hope to pass the ambitious social and climate spending bill envisaged by the president and his cabinet. With half the Senate and a tie-breaking vote from US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Democrats can pass the bill using the budget reconciliation mechanism – even without support from Republicans.
11 November 2021, 18:28 GMT
Manchin has stopped short of committing himself to vote for the legislation. He repeatedly raised concern regarding BBB costs and has convinced his fellow party members to tone down the spending. But now, with November 2021 data showing inflation levels at 6.8% year-per-year, the Democrat senator is seemingly once again afraid to back the bill.
Unusually high inflation has affected numerous global nation-states as economies rebuild after pandemic lockdown and worldwide consumer activity soars. The growth of consumer prices, however, especially for food and fuel, has some governments worried. The US, reportedly, has not seen this level of inflation in nearly 40 years.