Joe Manchin Says He Will Support Reconciliation Package, Claims It Is ‘Responsible Path Forward’

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday that he will support a reconciliation package targeting prescription drug prices and the energy sector.

The legislation, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, has not yet been written. However, Manchin said in a statement that the package will fight inflation by promoting an all-of-the-above energy policy and lower prescription drug prices. Inflation increased 9.1% over the twelve-month period ending June 30, the highest year-over-year increase since December 1981.

“I support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 because it provides a responsible path forward that is laser focused on solving our nation’s major economic, energy and climate problems. The question for my colleagues is whether they are willing to put their election politics aside and embrace the commonsense approach that the overwhelming majority of the American people support and will best serve the future of this nation,” Manchin said in a statement.

“In addition to fighting inflation, we must stop pretending that there is only one way to combat global climate change or achieve American energy independence,” he added. “This legislation ensures that the market will take the lead, rather than aspirational political agendas or unrealistic goals, in the energy transition that has been ongoing in our country. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 invests in the technologies needed for all fuel types – from hydrogen, nuclear, renewables, fossil fuels and energy storage – to be produced and used in the cleanest way possible. It is truly all of the above, which means this bill does not arbitrarily shut off our abundant fossil fuels.”

Manchin repeatedly objected to the Build Back Better reconciliation framework throughout 2021, arguing that the package’s proponents were hiding the true cost of the legislation through “budget gimmicks” and “shell games.” His stance drew criticism from the left flank of the Democratic Party, with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar suggesting that the two-term senator is actually a Republican.

“Build Back Better is dead, and instead we have the opportunity to make our country stronger by bringing Americans together,” Manchin reiterated in his statement. (RELATED: Manchin: Build Back Better Is Dead)

Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also opposed the Build Back Better framework. Left-wing activists repeatedly confronted her over her position, at one point chasing her into a bathroom at Arizona State University. Sinema chiefly objected to provisions setting price caps on prescription drugs, although she came to an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in November 2021.

Manchin announced his support just hours after 17 Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the Chips Plus Act, which provides subsidies for semiconductors and scientific research and development. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to withhold Republican support from the proposal following reports of Manchin’s negotiations with Schumer, but he ultimately voted for the legislation.