Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced Wednesday that he has reached a $670 billion deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on a bill Democrats are touting as the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Last year, Manchin’s refusal to vote for President Biden’s massive $3 trillion “Build Back Better” bill effectively killed the measure. He worried that the BBB plan would cause a further increase in the inflation rate. Details of his new agreement with Schumer are still emerging, but it seems clear that it will be far less expansive than what Schumer originally envisioned.
In a statement, Manchin wrote: “The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will address record inflation by paying down our national debt, lowering energy costs and lowering healthcare costs.”
We must be honest about the economic reality America now faces. That's why I'm proud to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which will address record inflation by paying down our national debt, and by lowering energy & healthcare costs. MORE: https://t.co/oPZF1gilEh
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) July 27, 2022
Over the last year, leaders in Washington have ignored repeated warnings about the severe threat of inflation and the consequences of unprecedented domestic spending. Despite these concerns and my calls to give the country time to fully realize the impacts of such historic levels of spending and our inflation crisis, many Democrats have continued to push for trillions more in spending to meet a political deadline. As difficult as it is for some to hear, political calls to action that ignore the severity of the crises we face and will continue to face are a recipe for national disaster.
The senator, still recovering after a positive COVID diagnosis, has been a thorn in the side of Democrats and the Biden Administration, refusing to back the removal of the filibuster and also differing with his colleagues on a number of bills, including one legalizing abortion up until birth that he found too extreme.
He talks a good game:
We must be honest about the economic reality America now faces if we want to avoid fanning the flames of inflation. At its core, the purpose of reconciliation is to get our economic and financial house in order. Contrary to foolish talk otherwise, America cannot spend its way out of debt or out of inflation. With respect to my position, I have never and will never walk away from solving the problems facing the nation we all love. I strongly support the passage of commonsense policies that reduce inflation and focus on the major challenges confronting America today and in the future.
One of the ways he wants to accomplish his goals is through tax policy. “In practical terms, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would dedicate hundreds of billions of dollars to deficit reduction by adopting a tax policy that protects small businesses and working-class Americans while ensuring that large corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.” Let’s hope that’s not code for, “we’re going to jack up your taxes further!”
Many are concerned that Manchin just gave away the farm:
Manchin really drove a hard bargain:
"I'll vote for all your crazy tax and spend stuff I've been pretending to oppose, but we have call the bill Inflation Reduction Act."
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 27, 2022
On energy, he at least sounds somewhat reasonable:
I support a plan that will advance a realistic energy and climate policy that lowers prices today and strategically invests in the long game. As the super power of the world, it is vital we not undermine our super power status by removing dependable and affordable fossil fuel energy before new technologies are ready to reliably carry the load.
According to The Hill:
The bill would invest $369 billion in energy climate programs over the next 10 years and $300 billion to reduce the deficit. It would be added to legislation to lower prescription drug prices and extend expiring health care subsidies.
The deal will be part of the budget reconciliation package that Senate Democrats plan to bring to the floor next week and pass on a party-line vote, circumventing a Republican filibuster under special Senate rules.
Biden has weighed in on the agreement:
Biden statement on Manchin's Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 pic.twitter.com/y8FSiPRTUt
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 27, 2022
CNN has described the accord as “a major boost to Democrats,” but as professional Biden Administration cheerleaders, it’s hard to take their word seriously. As we’ve repeatedly discovered in recent years, the full effects of legislation don’t become apparent until sometimes years later, often because lawmakers don’t even know exactly what they’re passing.
New details about this “Inflation Reduction Act” will continue to emerge. Let’s hope Manchin hasn’t sold us out.