- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia hardened his stance on new federal spending Wednesday in the wake of a new federal report showing inflation in June swelled to a new 40-year-high of 9.1%.

The centrist Democrat is in negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer to reach a deal on a special tax and spending bill that Democrats can pass in a party-line vote.

“I’m very, very cautious,” Mr. Manchin told reporters. “I’m going to make sure that I have every input on scrubbing everything humanly possible that could be considered [inflationary].”

For every $1 of revenue, Mr. Manchin said, half of that should go toward deficit reduction.

After Mr. Manchin tanked President Biden’s roughly $2 trillion climate and social spending package last year, Mr. Schumer is working closely with the West Virginia senator to strike a deal on a slimmed-down version.

Democrats hope to pass the measure through a process known as budget reconciliation that bypasses the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold required for most legislation to survive the 100-member chamber.

SEE ALSO: Biden tagged as ‘pay-cut president’ as soaring inflation erodes wages again

The procedural maneuver would enable Democrats to pass the bill without Republican votes but all 50 Senate Democrats would need to be on board.

Mr. Manchin has said he is open to new taxes on corporations to help drive down inflation and the deficit. He also backs some climate and energy provisions, though it remains murky about how far Mr. Manchin is willing to go on his party’s clean energy agenda. 

Increases in the cost of gasoline, food and rent led to soaring consumer prices last month at an annual rate of 9.1%, the largest increase since 1981 and steeper than May’s 8.6% rise, according to the monthly report from the Labor Department.

President Biden said the number was “unacceptably high” but added that it’s “also out of date” because it did not reflect the recent decline in gas prices over the past month.

Echoing criticism from Republicans, Mr. Manchin chastised other elected leaders in Washington for previously failing to recognize that the government’s recent spending habits would lead to economic woes for everyday Americans.

“While Washington seems to now understand this reality, it is time for us to work together to get unnecessary spending under control, produce more energy at home and take more active and serious steps to address this record inflation that now poses a clear and present danger to our economy,” he said.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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