Jul 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Manchin opens door to climate spending after July inflation numbers

Manchin walking in the Capitol
Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) claimed that he didn't close the door to a climate and energy package with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but that he's ready to support a plan to lower prescription drugs costs this month.

Driving the news: Manchin used one of his favorite venues — a popular West Virginia radio show hosted by Hoppy Kercheval — to say that he simply wants more time before deciding on legislation that raises corporate taxes and invests up to $300 billion in clean energy.

  • "Chuck, can we just wait until the inflation decisions come out in July," Manchin said he told Schumer. "And then make a decision."
  • "Inflation is absolutely killing many, many people," he said, noting he also wants to see how the Federal Reserve responds to the 9.1% June inflation report.
  • "As far as I am concerned, I wanted climate. I want energy policy."

Why it matters: Manchin's latest comments will force Democrats to reexamine the possibilities — and the timeframe — for a potential bigger package.

  • Democrats are somewhere between outraged and depressed after reports last night that Manchin apparently gave up on the climate portions in a potential reconciliation package with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  • "Chuck, if you're on a political deadline, and it has to be done in July, the one thing you know you can get done is basically do that bill, write a piece of legislation on reducing drug prices, letting Medicare negotiate," Manchin said.
  • "That saves about $288 billion over 10 years, take 40 billion of that and extend the Affordable Care Act discounts that people were getting," he said.

Be smart: Manchin and Schumer basically have a tactical disagreement on how much time is left on the Senate clock.

  • Manchin thinks the deadline for a package is Sept. 30, when the budget reconciliation instructions expire.
  • Schumer would feel more comfortable getting a package moving earlier, to allow for any unforeseen hiccups either in his caucus or the House.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release July's Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m. on August 10.
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