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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, on Wednesday insisted that the Democrats' budget proposal should remain at $3.5 trillion, dismissing calls from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for a lower number.

Driving the news: Manchin has warned the White House and Congress leadership that he has concerns about the proposal and is willing to support as little as $1 trillion of it. His vote is crucial in the 50-50 Senate.

  • At most, the West Virginia senator is open to supporting $1.5 trillion, sources told Axios' Hans Nichols.

What they're saying: "That $3.5 trillion is already the result of a major, major compromise and at the very least this bill should contain $3.5 trillion," Sanders said in a call with reporters.

  • Sanders said that an "overwhelming majority" of the Budget Committee members supported his original $6 trillion bill, adding that he still believes more than $3.5 trillion is necessary.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also addressed the issue, saying that "it is our intention to have every part of the Biden plan in a big and robust way."

Schumer rejected Manchin's call for a "strategic pause," saying: "We're moving full speed ahead. We want to keep moving forward. We think getting this done is so important to the American people ... We are moving forward with this bill"

  • Catch up quick: Manchin had called for the pause to "provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic," adding that it will also "allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not."

Between the lines: With a 50-50 split Senate, Manchin's doubts on the bill mean that the budget for President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda are in danger of dying this Congress.

Go deeper: Scoop: Manchin backs as little as $1 trillion of Biden's $3.5 trillion plan

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.