West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin warned that he would not support the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan, threatening to derail President Joe Biden’s entire first-year agenda.
Manchin urged Democrats to pause their plan to pass the spending bill during an appearance at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce summit. The Chamber of Commerce has launched a high-priced campaign aimed at defeating the legislation.
“Hit the pause button,” he said. “Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.”
Manchin said he is supportive of some of the provisions in the bill but worries that the amount of spending is too high.
“I want to be able to take care of our military that can defend us anywhere in the world if it’s called upon. I want to make sure our economy is still robust. I want to make sure we’re bringing manufacturing back in opportunities,” he said.
“I don’t want to have debt over our head to where we basically can’t service the debt that we have. … There’s a lot of good stuff in here, but it’s not anything that we need immediately. We’ve done over $6 trillion.”
Joe doubles down in op-ed:
Manchin followed the speech by penning an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal reiterating his desire for a “strategic pause.”
"The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future," Manchin wrote. "Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree."
Manchin said he worries about the rise of inflation and the growing national debt.
“Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent more than $5 trillion responding to the coronavirus pandemic,” he argued. “Now Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans.”
Progressives threaten to “cancel” bipartisan bill:
Congressional leaders have moved on the spending bill alongside the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate this summer to ensure that progressives in the House vote for both. But progressives say they have no interest in voting on just the infrastructure bill.
Rather than hit the pause button, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested “maybe we hit the ‘cancel’ button on this so-called ‘bipartisan’ charade of an Exxon lobbyist drafted infrastructure bill unless we actually pass a law that helps people’s lives with healthcare expansion, childcare, climate action, etc.”
“Alternatively, if we want to bring down the $3.5T we can bring back taxing the rich and boosting IRS enforcement that [moderates] orginally worked so hard to trim back!” she added.
“Pause on finally delivering child care, paid leave, education, health care, affordable housing, climate action, and dental, vision, and hearing to millions of families across America?” wrote Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “Absolutely not.”