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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

Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes massive economic plan despite "stalemate"

President Biden speaking from the White House on Sept. 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday urged congressional Democrats to overcome differences surrounding his multi-trillion-dollar economic proposal but said he's still confident it will pass.

Why it matters: It's currently unclear how the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package will move forward with moderate and progressive Democrats in disagreement over critical portions of the legislation.

Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats release full text of Biden's $3.5T reconciliation package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday unveiled the full text of President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats are racing to finish negotiations and get the bill on the floor as soon as possible so Pelosi can fulfill her promises to both House centrists and progressives about the timing and sequencing of passing the party's dual infrastructure packages.

Updated Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.