Democratic key senator Joe Manchin is demanding more time to get “clarity” on the economic implications of the social spending package presented by President Biden and other Democrats. In remarks to reporters on Monday, Manchin House progressive blew up to hold the two-part infrastructure bill hostage.
Last week before leaving for Europe, President Biden announced one, trimmed down from the original $ 3.5 trillion. But Manchin made it clear Monday that he is still unfamiliar with the framework in its current state, and the Senate cannot pass legislation without him. Democrats had hoped to possibly vote on both the infrastructure and the Reconciliation Act this week, but Manchin’s comments indicated that it might not be possible.
“As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $ 1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice the amount if full-time is run out if you extended it permanently, Manchin told reporters Monday afternoon. “And we have not even talked about that. This is a recipe for economic crisis. “
Manchin, which has consistently expressed concern over spending, rising debt and inflation, reiterated those concerns on Monday. He took no questions.
“I will not support reconciliation legislation without knowing how the bill will affect our debt and our economy and our country,” Manchin said.
Senator Bernie Sanders took a shot at funding the two-part infrastructure law later Monday, telling reporters: “The infrastructure bill runs into a $ 250 billion deficit over a 10-year period. It’s not paid for. The legislation that I want to see passed, which includes lowering the cost of prescription drugs, extending Medicare, including paid family and sick leave, paid in – in full. It will not affect inflation. “
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the two-tier infrastructure bill would addto the deficit.
The West Virginia senator said he has worked in “good faith” in the so-called Reconciliation Act negotiations and that he is willing to compromise and accuse his progressive colleagues of having an “all or nothing” approach.
“Although I have worked hard to find a way to compromise, it is obvious: compromise is not good enough for many of my colleagues in Congress,” he complained. “It’s all or nothing.”
Within an hour, the White House responded to Manchin’s statement.
“Senator Manchin says he is ready to support a Build Back Better plan that fights inflation, is fiscally responsible and will create jobs. The plan that Parliament is finalizing meets these tests – it is fully paid for, will reduce the deficit and bring down the costs of health care, child care, elderly care and housing, “said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “Experts agree: Seventeen Nobel Prize-winning economists have said it will reduce inflation. As a result, we remain confident the plan will win Senator Manchin’s support.”
Some progressives became angry at Manchin’s statement.
“Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-black, anti-child, anti-woman and anti-immigrant,” Congressman Cori Bush said in a statement. And she said Manchin “is not going to dictate the future of our country.” She called on the Senate to “actually get this done.” But if Manchin and Sinema do not agree to support the bill on social spending, it will not become law.
“When I promised St. Louis a historic investment in children, in our seniors, in housing, and in our schools, I said I would do everything I can to actually deliver change that our community can feel. We can not spend the next year said, ‘the house did its thing, and now it’s the Senate’s turn.’ We need the Senate to actually get this done.
Yet Parliament’s President Nancy Pelosi was not ready to give up the prospect of a vote in the next few days. Asked by reporters whether Parliament would vote this week on the bill on social spending, she briefly replied: “It is our hope,” and she reaffirmed her belief that this is a realistic option. In response to a question about whether Manchin’s statement on Monday changed anything, she denied having it, telling reporters that lawmakers are “on our course.”
However, the House Rules Committee must still meet on the Build Back Better framework, and the progressives want the House to pass the Infrastructure Act along with the Reconciliation Act. The house is out of meeting next week.
Congressional Progressive Caucus President Pramila Jayapal said she wants Parliament to vote on both bills this week and she expects all progressives to vote for both.
Ellis Kim contributed to this report.