The scathing statement from Manchin, D-W.Va., comes after he was the loudest intra-party critic of the Biden administration’s handling of the problem for months. But the president and the Federal Reserve haven’t done enough to deal with inflation, Manchin said, as it reached a new 40-year high Tuesday with the consumer price index up 8.5% from March 2021 to last month.
“When will this end? It is a disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon. The Federal Reserve and the administration failed to act fast enough, and today’s data is a snapshot in time of the consequences being felt across the country,” Manchin said. “Instead of acting boldly, our elected leaders and the Federal Reserve continue to respond with half-measures and rhetorical failures searching for where to lay the blame. The American people deserve the truth about why record inflation is happening and what must be done to control it.”
Manchin added: “Here is the truth, we cannot spend our way to a balanced, healthy economy and continue adding to our $30 trillion national debt. Getting inflation under control will require more aggressive action by a Federal Reserve that waited too long to act. It demands the administration and Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, support an all-the-above energy policy because that is the only way to bring down the high price of gas and energy while attacking climate change.”
The White House initially dismissed inflation last year as “transitory” before it continued to surge into late 2021 and 2022. It also said inflation was a sign of a good economy at times. White House chief of staff Ron Klain retweeted a post that dismissed inflation as a “high class problem,” although the White House eventually began acknowledging its effect on average Americans.
The White House Tuesday morning did not issue a statement on the inflation numbers and President Biden did not take questions as he left the White House. Biden is set to speak a 1:45 p.m. in Iowa on “his administration’s actions to lower costs for working families,” according to the White House. He is expected to tout a move to allow increased amounts of ethanol in fuel during the summer, which could lower gas prices by a few cents per gallon.
Manchin killed Democrats’ party-line effort to pass a massive reconciliation spending bill late last year, largely over its anticipated affect on inflation.
Reached for comment Tuesday, Manchin’s office did not detail Tuesday what specific legislative proposals on inflation he could support in Congress this year. Manchin said in an interview with Politico last month he could support a bill that narrowly addresses tax reform, prescription drug reform and climate change.
“The inflation number today is only the beginning unless we take immediate action to address the pain being felt across our nation,” Manchin said. “This is one problem facing the American people that one political party alone cannot fix. The American people cannot wait any longer.”