Both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are pushing ahead with their efforts to pass a massive $3.5 trillion spending package.
Predictably, the pair are facing opposition from Republicans. Yet as Politico pointed out in a piece on Saturday, it may ultimately be a member of their own party who stands in the way.
The website reported that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is resisting calls to identify which elements of the sprawling legislation that he wants to see removed.
Manchin: “There is no timeline”
Manchin, who is widely regarded as a moderate within the Democratic Party, has insisted that more time is needed to fully review what effects the bill will have.
“What’s the need?” Manchin was quoted as asking about the perceived sense of urgency. “There is no timeline. I want to understand it.”
Manchin told the website during an interview on Thursday, “I don’t think anything runs out. Right now, we’ve got good nutrition for children, a lot of things are covered right now clear [into] next year.”
“I’ve always said pause. I thought because this is such a big thing,” the West Virgina senator continued. “Right now I can tell they’re not moving for a pause and looking for a pause. I don’t know what the time frame is, but I want to understand it right now before I do anything.”
Manchin distances himself from left-wing Democrats
Manchin also drew a contrast between himself and more left-leaning members of his party, remarking, “Everybody knows me pretty well. My mind is my mind, not theirs.”
“I wouldn’t think I could do anything to change their minds. I think Bernie [Sanders] is sincere, he has a very social mindset and he is who he is to the core. I hope he’ll respect me. I’m not anywhere near that.”
Earlier this month, Manchin expressed doubts expressed doubts about the wisdom of such a large spending increase, citing fears of inflation.
He wrote in a piece for the Wall Street Journal that “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 cooperation will likely be key to getting the legislation passed as Democrats and Republicans current both hold 50 seats in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.