West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin went on all five Sunday news shows yesterday to defend his deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a massive new tax and spending plan.
The $670 billion piece of legislation is labeled as the Inflation Reduction Act, but it has other objectives like cutting healthcare costs and addressing climate change and energy concerns.
Some critics say it will actually harm the struggling economy. Republicans are disagreeing with Manchin's contention that the bill will bring down inflation.
"Let me just say, this is all about fighting inflation. That's what it's about," Manchin said. "Inflation is just absolutely destroying families across West Virginia and across America. High price of gasoline just to go to work. High price of food just to maintain, sustain yourself during the day and every day for your family. And then the high cost of energy and any and everything else you want to do in life is taking a tremendous toll."
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) says all the extra new spending will only increase inflation. "All of this spending is unnecessary; it's going to exacerbate inflation. It is not going to reduce the deficit," he contends.
And a new analysis from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that the Democratic bill won't really do anything to fight inflation. The report said their estimates showed that the bill's impact was "statistically indistinguishable from zero."
Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy told ABC's "This Week" that by raising taxes on corporations the bill will do more harm than good. "It may be disinflationary by causing a recession. They're interjecting an incredible amount of uncertainty into the economy just as we entered a recession," Cassidy said.
Cassidy said the bill also raises taxes on middle-class and lower-income earners over time. Manchin defended the bill saying it does not raise taxes, but only closes loopholes.
On Fox News, Brett Baier pointed out that when Manchin supported President Biden's American Rescue Plan he claimed it would not cause inflation. But many economists now say all of that spending is a big part of the reason why prices have skyrocketed so high.
"Why should Americans believe you now when you say this new bill will not exacerbate inflation?" Baier asked. Manchin replied, "I'll make sure I don't make that mistake again. Bottom line, I'll make sure I didn't make that mistake again...that's why I was extra cautious right now."
Senate Democrats need 50 votes to pass the bill, but it's not clear if Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema is on board.