On Monday, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he will continue to withhold his support for a $1.75 trillion social spending package backed by President Joe Biden and Democratic progressives. Manchin diminished hopes that he would support Biden’s historic ‘Build Back Better’ social safety net plan during a Capitol Hill press conference.
Manchin told reporters: “As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games and budget gimmicks that make the real cost of this so-called $1.75 trillion dollar bill estimated to be twice as high if the programs are extended or made permanent.” The votes of Democratic holdouts Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are necessary to move the spending bill through the Senate on a 50-50 vote via the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process. A standoff has developed between Manchin and progressives in the House Democratic caucus, who are holding up the passage of a companion $1 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure bill which Manchin helped negotiate with Senate Republicans.
The president on Thursday announced a “framework” agreement on the re0conciliation bill, which has been greatly pared down due to Manchin’s concerns about its size, however the West Virginia senator remained insistent Monday that the bill is still too big: “Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy and most importantly all of our American people. The political games have to stop. Holding this [infrastructure] bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.”
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