Updated Sep 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin: $3.5 trillion spending plan will "not have my vote"

Sen. Joe Manchin walks out of a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure legislation

Sen. Joe Manchin walks out of a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure legislation. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Sunday that he will not support the cost of President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package.

Why it matters: The plan includes many "soft" infrastructure priorities, such as an expanded child tax credit and paid medical leave. In a 50-50 Senate, Manchin's vote is critical to passing the legislation.

The big picture: Asked to respond to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's intention to move "full speed ahead" with the package, Manchin said on CNN's "State of the Union" that "he will not have my vote on $3.5 [trillion] and Chuck knows that, and we've talked about this."

  • "We've already put out $5.4 trillion and we've tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can and a lot of the help that we've put out there is still there and it's going to run clear until next year, 2022, so what's the urgency?" he asked.
  • "My ceiling is this: the need of the American people and for us to take into consideration inflation," he said, also raising concerns about the nation's debt.
  • Axios reported last week that Manchin is open to supporting a $1.5 trillion package, significantly curtailing the scope of Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda.

Of note: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the same program Sunday that Manchin's refusal to support the $3.5 trillion plan was "absolutely not acceptable to me."

  • "I don't think it's acceptable to the president, for the American people, or the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,” he added.
  • Sanders added that "many of us made a major compromise in going from the $6 trillion bill that we wanted" down to $3.5 trillion.
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