While President Joe Biden has often touted the supposed need for his $3.5 trillion spending bill, critics say that the legislation is far too large and too costly. Now, it’s become clear that those critics aren’t just confined to the GOP.
As the Washington Examiner reported this week, even some moderate Democrats in the House have signaled that they aren’t fans of the bill — and they have the power to crush Biden’s hopes of passing it through Congress for good.
Among those moderate Dems is Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida congresswoman who serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. According to the Examiner, she complained on Thursday that the spending package lacks transparency.
“As we begin the multiday markup of this historic legislation, I do not know how much we are spending, how much we are raising,” Murphy was quoted as saying.
Florida Dem: The numbers aren’t clear
The Democrat also said the bill was “too rushed” and “driven by politics rather than policy.”
“We were given an artificial deadline in which to craft and mark up this bill, and I believe it was too rushed, driven by politics rather than policy,” Murphy said, according to the Examiner.
“I can’t properly evaluate the assessments, however worthwhile they appear in isolation, with incomplete information,” the congresswoman added. “I do not think it is asking too much to see this bill in its entirety before voting,” she added.
This is “especially” true, she said, “when we are proposing to create or change programs that will affect my constituents at every stage of their lives.” With that, “unless something changes, I have no choice but to vote no,” Murphy concluded, according to the Examiner.
AOC, Manchin double down
If moderate Democrats ultimately fail to get behind the bill, it could well have far-reaching consequences for the Biden administration’s agenda.
Fox Business reports that progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has said she will turn against Biden’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan should the larger spending package fail. “Nothing would give me more pleasure than to tank a billionaire, dark money, fossil fuel, Exxon lobbyist drafted energy infrastructure bill if they come after our child care and climate priorities,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram, according to Fox Business.
The bill still needs approval in the Senate, too, and relatively moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has expressed similar reservations. He wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that “Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation.”
Could Biden’s hopes for a sweeping spending deal soon be quashed for good?