Pelosi blames inflation on low unemployment, says Manchin ‘not right’ on BBB criticism

Build Back Better is a 'deficit reduction bill,' House speaker says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that skyrocketing inflation is due to more people entering the workforce, and that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is wrong to claim that President Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act would worsen inflation.

During an appearance on ABC’s "This Week," Pelosi was asked by anchor George Stephanopoulos to explain what Democrats in Congress are doing to address rising inflation, which is up 7.5% in the past year, marking the steepest increase in 40 years.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"The fact that people have jobs always contributes to an increase in inflation, and that’s a good thing," Pelosi said. "But inflation is not a good, you know, we have to contain it."

"Wages are not keeping up with prices," Stephanopoulos interjected.

"That’s right, and let me just say what Congress has been doing," the congresswoman replied.

Pelosi touted the COMPETES Act, which passed the House earlier this month by a 222-210 largely partisan vote and addressed supply chain disruptions exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes a $52 billion "chips" fund to bring semiconductor fabrication back to the U.S. and a $45 billion investment to ensure critical goods are made in the U.S. rather than relying on China. 

"What contributes to inflation? More people having jobs, scarcity of product, which makes prices go up, and the rest," Pelosi said. "So we passed the Competes Act last Friday – this was a giant step for it."

Pelosi also promoted Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion economic and climate package that is all but dead due to Manchin’s opposition in the evenly divided Senate. Manchin said passing BBB would only add fuel to the already burning economy, but Pelosi pushed back Sunday, claiming it is a "deficit reduction bill."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Sen. Joe Manchin speaks with reporters outside the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill on Jan. 20, 2022. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Clearly, he has—," she said, stopping herself. "Look, Joe Manchin, as you said, is the senator that counts, every senator counts, and we have legislation that is so transformative for our country. When you say what President Biden has done and in this year, whether it's the Rescue package that has put money in people's pockets, taken people off of poverty, vaccines in their arms and the rest—"

"Yes, but people aren’t feeling it right now," Stephanopoulos interjected. "They’re upset."

"I understand that, but there has to be a cumulative effect, a cumulative effect," Pelosi said. "And part of the consequences of all of that investment and the infrastructure bill and the rest is that more people have jobs and therefore inflation goes up."

"Yes, we have inflation," she continued. "It's very important for us to address it, we must bring it down, but it’s not right, with all due respect in the world for my friend Joe Manchin, it's not right to say that what we're doing is contributing to inflation, because it’s exactly the opposite."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)


Pelosi also addressed rising crime in her interview, declaring that the stance taken by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who wants to defund the police, "is not the position of the Democratic Party."

"Community safety, to protect and defend in every way, is our oath of office," Pelosi said. "Public safety is our responsibility."

Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.