“I can’t vote for that”


Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) Thursday drew a clear line in the sand in opposition to the Democrats’ proposed $3.5 trillion spending package, staging a showdown with Progressives who have vowed to torpedo a bill of bipartisan infrastructure legislation unless it is coupled with “robust” social spending.


Manchin, a moderate who tends to be a deciding vote in the Senate 50-50, wrote in a the wall street journal editorial “if I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it,” adding that he “can’t explain” why Senate Democrats are “rushing to spend $3.5 trillion.”

Manchin accused fellow Democrats of “reverse-engineering” the package to include long-standing liberal policy priorities like Medicare expansion and universal pre-K, arguing that such maneuvers “isn’t the way you make a good policy”.

Manchin isn’t the only one hesitant about the proposed price: A spokesman for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), another moderate, Recount Politics at the end of last month, it “will not support” $3.5 trillion in spending.

The votes of both senators will be needed for Democrats to pass the package, which can bypass the 60-vote threshold to smash a filibuster but still requires the support of all House Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Progressives in the House, meanwhile, are threatening to vote down a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill focused on “essential” things like roads and bridges, heavily backed by Manchin and Sinema, if not coupled with a “robust” social spending bill.

Key context

Both Manchin and Sinema were members of a bipartisan group of senators who spent months negotiating with the White House to craft the infrastructure bill — talks that took place after talks between the House collapsed. Blanche and the Senate GOP. At the same time, Democrats have pledged to pursue a “two-track” approach in which the infrastructure bill and the budget bill are paired, with President Joe Biden pledge do not sign one without the other.

crucial quote

“I, for one, will not support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without more clarity on why Congress is choosing to ignore the severe effects. inflation and debt on existing government programs,” Manchin wrote, arguing the record economic growth vaunted by the administration means that Democrats’ desire to spend billions more on social programs “ignores current economic reality.”

Large number

96. That’s the number of House members in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which said last month that an internal investigation found at least half of its members are willing to hold the bill hostage. on infrastructure. Still, the bill won the support of 19 Senate Republicans, meaning it will likely get at least some support from House Republicans as well.

Chief Spokesperson

“I believe it would take dozens and dozens and dozens of Republicans to vote for this. And, I mean, Republicans … can’t even get a critical mass of people to say the election was legitimate,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) Forbes last month, when asked if GOP support could make up for lost progressive votes to pass the infrastructure bill, adding, “We’ll see.”

To monitor

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck a deal with a group of moderates last month to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill no later than September 27. Committees are rushing to annotate the budget reconciliation bill so that it is ready for a vote before then.

Richard L. Militello