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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.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate to vote on Manchin-backed voting rights proposal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, flanked by Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Senate will vote next week on a new voting rights bill backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced in a letter to colleagues on Thursday.

Why it matters: The Freedom To Vote Act is the latest attempt by Democrats to counter Republican-led measures at the state level to restrict voting access. Democrats still face the same roadblock to enacting it: the filibuster.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House sees Hill deal on Biden's spending plans "soon"

President Biden with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A White House official tells me talks with Democratic lawmakers on the final shape of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda "are accelerating ... [T]his progress means we can conclude negotiations soon."

Driving the news: "There’s urgency and purpose in our conversations behind bringing these game-changing economic growth plans home for families, and we feel good about the momentum," the official said.

Focus group: Child tax credit expansion divides swing voters

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some swing voters say the most important elements to preserve in Democrats' massive social spending package are the ones that would lower prescription drug costs, reduce pollution and make childcare or pre-K free or more affordable.

Yes, but: Considerably less popular among Trump-to-Biden voters: Extending the expanded child tax credit to 2025.