Days after Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly told Sen. Lindsey Graham he was “stunned” by the Congressional Budget Office’s new score of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, the West Virginia Democrat spoke about his concerns publicly.
"Inflation is real. It's not transitory. It's alarming. It's going up, not down,” he told reporters, according to Fox News. “And I think that should be something we're concerned about. And geopolitical fallout.”
His comments come on the heels of a new Labor Department report that revealed consumer prices surged by 6.8% in November from the previous year, the fastest pace since June 1982, when inflation hit 7.1%. The CPI – which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents – jumped 0.8% in the one-month period from October.
While Democrats have brought down the price tag of the social spending bill to $1.7 trillion from $3.5 trillion, Manchin has his party of using so-called "budget gimmicks" to conceal the true cost of the legislation. The Congressional Budget Office, at the request of Republicans, released a new analysis of the bill on Friday that assumes the programs are made are permanent, and found the legislation would add $3 trillion to the federal budget deficit. (Fox News)
Manchin noted that he would be speaking to President Biden later in the day about the $1.7 trillion spending plan, which the CBO estimates will “increase the deficit by $3 trillion over 2022 to 2031” if sunset clauses in the bill are removed -- analysis he called "very sobering."
"Joe Manchin has been wanting to know without gimmicks what would the bill cost. We now know it more than doubles. ... I’ve done what Sen. Manchin said somebody should do," Graham said last week.
"What I think will happen is that Joe will take these numbers and he will start making decisions about what comes next, and my hope is that Sen. Manchin will say, 'Stop, shelve Build Back Better until we find better answers to where inflation is headed,'" he added.
On Monday, Manchin didn’t sound keen to rush its passage by Christmas.
"I know people have been in a hurry for a long time to do something, but basically I think we're seeing things unfold that allows us to prepare better," Manchin said.