Manchin says he won't support Democrats' economic package, citing record inflation

The West Virginia Democrat told Sen. Schumer Thursday that he was unable to support the major spending bill.

Updated: July 15, 2022 - 8:00am

Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday that he "unequivocally" will not support the climate or tax provisions of a Democratic economic package that the two men had been negotiating for months, according to multiple reports.

Schumer reportedly made a number of attempts to pare back the climate provisions in the bill, but Manchin was unswayed. The West Virginia moderate told the caucus leader that he is unable to support any provisions on energy or climate, and is also unwilling to consider raising taxes in any capacity. 

Late last year, Manchin sunk Senate Democrats' chances to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, parts of which were incorporated in the new economic passage. 

Manchin has repeatedly pointed to skyrocketing inflation as the primary reason that he is unable to support more spending and potential tax hikes. 

"Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%," a Manchin spokesperson said. "Senator Manchin believes it's time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he was not going to "sugar coat my disappointment here, especially since nearly all issues in the climate and energy space had been resolved."

"This is our last chance to prevent the most catastrophic – and costly – effects of climate change," he also said. "We can't come back in another decade and forestall hundreds of billions—if not trillions—in economic damage and undo the inevitable human toll."

Manchin says he remains in favor of legislation that would give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, but he is hesitant to support any aspect of the massive bill beyond that.

"I’m going to make sure that I have every input on scrubbing everything humanly possible that could be considered inflammatory," he said Wednesday. "Basically, take your time and make sure we do it and do it right. We can’t afford mistakes in the highest inflation we’ve seen in the last 40 years."

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