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Key Democratic senators silent on rising inflation, potential implications for Biden's massive spending bill – Fox News

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Fox News contributor Brian Brenberg warned Americans are likely to continue grappling with sky-high costs at the store and the pump through next year.
New numbers released Wednesday show that inflation continues to rise and might not be temporary, a situation that may put key Senate Democrats in a tough spot when crafting and voting on their party’s massive social spending bill, and drag on their 2022 election prospects. 
Several key Democratic senators have been notably silent on accelerating inflation trends in the wake of the new data. They include Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev; Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. said in a statement to FOX Business that he has been “laser-focused on working to curb rising prices, and strengthen economic stability and opportunity for hardworking families.”
Warnock’s office also argued that programs like the “expanded Child Tax Credit” will put more money in people’s pockets, and that “major infrastructure, health care and economic investments… will help reduce costs for Georgians while boosting economic growth and easing many of the long-term pressures that cause inflation.”
Rising prices prompted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to again raise the alarm about inflation.
“By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse,” Manchin said in a Wednesday tweet. “From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.”
The consumer price index climbed 6.2% year over year in October, according to the Labor Department. The increase marked the largest annual gain since November 1990. Prices rose 0.9% month over month. This increase has coincided with spikes in prices in everything from gas to food to clothes and more, chipping away at Americans’ bank accounts. 
Manchin has for months been connecting inflation with his reluctance to back Democrats’ social spending bill, which they plan to pass along party lines using a process called budget reconciliation. 
He lamented that “[a]n overheating economy has imposed a costly ‘inflation tax’ on every middle- and working-class American,” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in September. The title of that op-ed: “Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion.” 
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., speaks to New Hampshire firefighters about combating substance misuse crisis.   (Senator Hassan’s office)
Since then, the price of the reconciliation bill has dropped to under $2 trillion, according to Democrats’ estimates. But Manchin still hasn’t promised support for the bill. And Axios reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that Manchin may oppose any action on the bill until next year at least due to inflation.  
If that is the case, it would be a major blow to President Biden and the White House in their push for prompt passage of the reconciliation bill, titled the Build Back Better Act. The bill needs the support of all 50 Senate Democrats to pass. 
Manchin’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Thursday asking him to elaborate on his Wednesday tweet raising inflation concerns, and asking whether he indeed is considering blocking the reconciliation bill until 2022. 
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., arrives for the Senate Democrats weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 15, 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
Fox News also asked several other key moderate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2022 in purple states about their thoughts on inflation, whether it is transitory and how it may affect their approach to the reconciliation bill.
Offices for Cortez Masto, Kelly, Hassan and Bennet did not respond to those questions. None acknowledged the unexpectedly high inflation numbers from Wednesday in any official statement or social media post. 
Biden, for his part, did mention the new inflation numbers in a Wednesday statement and argued the reconciliation bill will help cut inflation. 
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., speaks to voters at a house party in Manchester, N.H., Dec. 8, 2019 during his run for president. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)
“Inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” the president said. “The largest share of the increase in prices in this report is due to rising energy costs, and in the few days since the data for this report were collected, the price of natural gas has fallen.”
Biden added: “It is important that Congress pass my Build Back Better plan, which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs — alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans, including for most families with children.”
“Seventeen Nobel Prize winners in economics have said that my plan will ‘ease inflationary pressures,’” Biden said. 
President Biden shields his eyes from the sun as he walks toward Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Republicans strongly disagreed with that take Wednesday. 
“‘Inflation surges to its highest since 1990,'” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, tweeted, quoting an NPR headline. “From the gas pump to the grocery store, middle class families are feeling the pinch. This crisis is growing worse. And Democrats’ trillion dollar tax and spending bill will just add fuel to the fire.”
“Inflation keeps breaking records,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “It’s hurting American families. It is absurd and wrong that Democrats are considering trillions more in reckless taxing and spending.”
Fox News’ Jonathan Garber, Kaitlin Sprague and Megan Henney contributed to this report. 
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.