Joe Manchin may be the most unpopular Democrat among Democrats at the moment. Multiple outlets reported Thursday night that the West Virginia senator has torpedoed his party's hopes of pushing through legislation on climate change or tax hikes on the wealthy. On Friday, however, Manchin said reports that he had permanently walked away from negotiations weren't accurate. In a home-state radio interview, Manchin said he wanted to see inflation figures from July before deciding how to proceed, reports Politico. “Can’t we wait to make sure that we do nothing to add to that?” he said. If his fellow Democrats want something sooner, they'll have to limit the legislation to reducing drug prices, curbing federal deficits, and extending federal health care subsidies, per the AP.
The July inflation report will not be out until August. “Let’s wait until that comes out so we know we’re going down the path that won’t be inflammatory to add more to inflation,” Manchin said on Talkline, a radio show. The senator said he informed Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he was balking on the climate and tax-hike part of the deal this week, after June inflation numbers came in higher than expected. “They all knew exactly where I stood when we saw 9.1%," he said, per the Hill. "That was an alarming figure to me, higher than anything in 40-plus years. I said, ‘Oh my goodness, let’s wait now. This is a whole new page."
It's not clear whether Manchin's new comments will cause his critics to ease up. The New York Times on Thursday, for example, quoted former Obama official John Podesta, now in charge of the left-leaning think tank the Center for American Progress, as saying, “It seems odd that Manchin would choose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity." On the right, Matt Vespa at Townhall responds to the Podesta line by asking, "Are you kidding me?" The Democrats' spending package is way too big, he writes, adding, "Let's thank Joe Manchin again for saving us from falling into the economic abyss." (Read more Joe Manchin stories.)