It appears that President Joe Biden’s soon-to-be-released “infrastructure” proposal may already be doomed.
Fox News reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a key Senate vote, has declared that he will not support Biden’s infrastructure proposal unless it gets some support from Senate Republicans.
Manchin’s comments came during an interview that he participated in with Axios on Sunday. There, Manchin said that he is not in favor of using reconciliation to get Biden’s infrastructure proposal through the Senate.
“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin said. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start.”
Reconciliation is a way to get around the Senate filibuster or the 60-vote threshold. For certain budget-related bills, the reconciliation process can be invoked, which lowers the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most legislation to 51, or a simple majority.
Given that the Democrats currently have the upper hand in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris having the tie-breaking vote, what the reconciliation process can do is allow Democrats to push legislation through the Senate without needing the support of even a single Senate Republican. We saw this with the recently passed $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill.
Typically, reconciliation is only allowed to be used once a year. But, Democrats have already been talking about using it again, such as on Biden’s infrastructure bill. They have also been talking about simply eliminating the Senate filibuster.
Manchin, however, has now made it known that he is against both ideas, essentially stopping the Democrats in their tracks.
The “infrastructure” bill
Many reports have been published on Biden’s “infrastructure” proposal, which is expected to be released sometime this week. But, it still remains unclear exactly what Biden’s proposal will include.
Some reports, including one from the New York Times, have suggested that actual infrastructure – roads, bridges, ports, and such – will only be the focus of about a third of the bill, which is expected to have a price tag of roughly $3 to $4 trillion. If true, the rest of the bill would be expected to go to green initiatives and social-welfare programs.
Congressional Republicans, especially following the recently-passed $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill, appear ready to oppose the bill on the grounds that it is fiscally irresponsible. So, if Biden is going to have any chance to get his bill through Congress, he is going to have to come up with a plan to pay for it. Reports indicate that Biden could look to raise taxes by as much as $3 trillion.
The good news, though, is that, as long as Manchin sticks to his word, Biden and the Democrats are likely not going to be able to get this measure passed.