Joe Manchin Urges ‘Strategic Pause’ On $ 3.5 Trillion Democratic Spending Bill
Senator Joe Manchin III urged Congress on Thursday to take a “strategic pause” before considering President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion party-line spending package over inflation concerns.
Manchin, a key swing Democrat from West Virginia, made the case in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying the nation could not afford to ignore the “fiscal consequences of our political decisions.”
“Rather than rush to spend billions on new government programs and additional stimulus funds, Congress should make a strategic pause on budget reconciliation legislation,” he wrote.
“A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic and allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not,” argued Manchin.
He added that a delay would not only allow legislators to better understand the economic situation, but also the “implications that a bill of billions of dollars will have for this generation and the next.”
“I, for one, will not support a $ 3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity on why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects of inflation and debt. they have in existing government programs, “said the West Virginia senator. wrote.
Last week, the House voted along party lines to begin drafting the $ 3.5 billion package, which forms the centerpiece of Biden’s national agenda.
The move came after Manchin voted with the other 49 Democrats to begin work on the package within the Senate.
Democrats are presenting the $ 3.5 trillion bill as “human infrastructure” to sell to voters. They suggest the bill complements the $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which focuses on highway, bridge and airport projects.
In reality, the largest bill amounts to a wish list of liberal priorities, such as proposals for climate change, amnesty for undocumented immigrants, free community college and expanded health care.
It would be funded, in part, by higher taxes for the rich and corporations.
However, Manchin’s request for a delay could end up derailing the entire package. Democrats plan to pass it through budget reconciliation, allowing for some spending measures to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote obstruction threshold and pass it with a simple majority of 51 votes, or 50 votes plus the vice president’s tiebreaker vote. Kamala Harris.
In that scenario, Democrats couldn’t afford a single defection.