Manchin says he will only support a fraction of Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan

According to a new report from Axios, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has declared that he will only support about $1 to $1.5 trillion of the $3.5 trillion spending bill that the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress. 

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has privately warned the White House and congressional leaders that he has specific policy concerns with President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending dream — and he’ll support as little as $1 trillion of it,” the outlet reports. “At most, he’s open to supporting $1.5 trillion, sources familiar with the discussions say.”

The outlet reports that “underlying Manchin’s concerns” with the proposal “are deep and substantive differences over the size and scope of specific programs.” The outlet gave President Joe Biden’s plan to spend $400 billion for home caregivers as an example.

Manchin also has told the White House that any new spending would have to be paid for with new revenue.

“Hit the pause button”

This all comes after Manchin, last week, called upon his Democratic colleagues to put a hold on the $3.5 trillion spending proposal.

“Hit the pause button,” Manchin said. “Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.

Manchin followed this up with a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining himself.

“The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future,” he wrote. “Yet 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.”

Background

The Democrats are trying to pass the $3.5 trillion proposal using reconciliation, meaning that only a simple majority is needed in the Senate. But, given the current makeup of that upper chamber, if no Republicans are willing to support the bill, then all Democrats, including Manchin, need to be on board.

This explains why Manchin has been getting so much attention. Both President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have suggested that they are going to be working on Manchin to get him on board.

Those familiar with Manchin will know that he has a tendency to talk like a moderate but vote like a progressive. Or, as Biden recently put it, “Joe at the end has always been there. He’s always been with me. I think we can work something out. I look forward to speaking with him.”

We’ll have to see if Manchin caves this time.

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