Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat whose vote is key to advancing President Joe Biden’s agenda in Congress, expressed skepticism about moving ahead with more spending after government data showed inflation stuck at a 40-year high.
“Congress and the administration must proceed with caution before adding more fuel to an economy on fire,” Manchin said in a statement Thursday.
In mid-December, Manchin said he couldn’t support Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better social-spending and climate package, but analysts have said a smaller package of perhaps half that size could be completed.
On Thursday, the government reported that the rate of U.S. inflation climbed again in January to 7.5% and stayed at a 40-year high. That suggested the upward pressure on consumer prices is unlikely to relent soon, as MarketWatch reported.
Biden has said he expects Build Back Better to be broken up in order to have parts of it passed by Congress. Biden did not mention the plan in a statement on Thursday, but said about creating jobs and lowering prices: “My administration will continue to be all hands on deck to win this fight.”
Analysts have said they expected a “BBB 2.0” to emerge this month, before Biden’s March 1 State of the Union address.