On Wednesday, new numbers show that inflation continues to go up, also indicating that it might not be temporary. This situation may put several key Senate Democrats in a difficult spot when creating and voting on the social spending bill their party put forward, and drag on their midterm election prospects.
Some key Senate Democrats seem to be silent on the inflation trends as these new data came out. These include Sens Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Maggie Hassan, (D-N.H.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
In a statement sent to Fox Business, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) has revealed that he has been focusing on trying to stop rising prices while strengthening “economic stability and opportunity for hardworking families.”
His office also said that programs similar to the “expanded Child Tax Credit” will put more money in the pockets of Americans and that investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and the economy can aid in lowering costs for Georgians while “boosting” the growth of the economy and “easing many of the long-term pressures that cause inflation.”
The steady rise in prices made Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) warn about inflation.
On Wednesday, he stated in a tweet that the threat record inflation poses to the people of the U.S “is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse.” He added that “From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.”
By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not “transitory” and is instead getting worse. From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 10, 2021
In October, the consumer price index went up 6.2% year over year, per the Labor Department. This increase signaled the largest annual gain since November 1990. Prices went up 0.9% month over month. This rise has come with spikes at prices in most consumer items, including gas, food, clothes, among others.
For months, Manchin has been correlating inflation with his own reluctance to support his party’s social spending bill, which they plan on passing along party lines using the budget reconciliation process.
He thought that “[a]n overheating economy has imposed a costly ‘inflation tax’ on every middle- and working-class American,” as he mentioned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in September titled “Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion.”
Since then the price tag on the reconciliation bill went down to below $2 trillion, according to the Democratic Party’s estimates. However, Manchin has yet to promise his backing for the bill. According to an Axios report on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that the senator may go against any action on the said bill until 2022 because of inflation.
If this happens, this would serve as a major setback to President Joe Biden and the White House as he pushes for the quick passage of the said bill called the “Build Back Better Act.” This proposal needs the support of all 50 Democrats in the Senate to pass.
The president, for his part, did mention the newly released numbers in his Wednesday Statement. He also argued that the proposal can help cut this trend.
Biden said that inflation hurts the people’s “pocketbooks” and reversing it is his top priority. He added that the largest part of the price increase happened because of rising energy costs. The president pointed out that since the data for the said report were gathered, natural gas prices had already gone down.
Biden then went on to narrate how important it would be for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Plan, “which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs — alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans, including for most families with children.”
He then claimed that 17 Nobel Prize winners in the field of economics have said that the proposal will “ease inflationary pressures.”
On Wednesday, however, Republicans voiced their opposition to that take.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) posted on Twitter, pointing out that the inflation rate has surged to its highest level since 1990. He added that “From the gas pump to the grocery store, middle-class families are feeling the pinch. This crisis is growing worse. And Democrats’ trillion-dollar tax and spending bill will just add fuel to the fire.”
“Inflation surges to its highest since 1990”
From the gas pump to the grocery store, middle class families are feeling the pinch.
This crisis is growing worse. And Democrats’ trillion dollar tax and spending bill will just add fuel to the fire. https://t.co/JzQ6meIDiD
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) November 10, 2021
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) stated that “inflation keeps breaking records,” and that it’s hurting families in America. He then called the Democratic Party’s move of considering even more “reckless taxing and spending” worth trillions as “absurd and wrong”