Sen. Manchin Favors Democratic-Only Infrastructure Bill
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) now supports going forward with a larger, Democratic-only infrastructure bill but insists it shouldn't be linked to the separate bipartisan bill Democrats, Republicans, and Biden have negotiated.
Senator Joe Manchin appears to be inching towards cooperating with his fellow Democrats to use reconciliation. This budget process allows them to bypass a 60-vote legislative filibuster, to pass a much larger infrastructure bill because Republicans don't want to make changes to the 2017 tax bill.
Manchin said during an MSNBC interview…
"We're going to have to work it through reconciliation, which I've agreed that that can be done. I just haven't agreed on the amount because I haven't seen everything that everyone wants to put in the bill."
Manchin went on to say the Senate can "go through the process" of putting together a larger package in addition to the $1.2 bipartisan deal reach last week that includes "human infrastructure," knowing that Democrats will…
"Probably have to go to reconciliation and then do what we can afford to do."
Manchin's willingness to take part and work with his fellow Democrats to work out a Democratic-only reconciliation bill appears to hand a significant boost to President Biden's agenda becoming a reality. Senator Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have long been viewed as the most prominent holdouts on greenlighting a Democratic-only bill.
However, Senator Bernie Sanders' proposed $6 Trillion budget seems like a long shot as Democrats are beginning to figure out how big to go in a Democratic-only infrastructure bill.
Given the Democrats will need the support of all 50 of their members and Vice President Harris to pass such a bill under reconciliation, it would appear that Senators Manchin and Sinema appear to be in the driver's seat. They will determine the final amount of infrastructure funds added to the bipartisan group's negotiated smaller plan of roughly $1.2 trillion over eight years announced by President Biden. That smaller-sized bill focuses more on traditional infrastructure, including roads, bridges and broadband.
During an MSNBC interview today, Manchin argued that the two bills shouldn't be linked, urging that Democrats "take the win" on the bipartisan agreement….
"Saying I'm going to not vote for the other one because you haven't guaranteed the vote for everything, we've never done legislation that way, I've never been a part of it in 10 years I've been in the Senate."
President Biden seems to be in agreement with Manchin. However, he will need to win approval from Nancy Pelosi, who is under pressure by House progressives to get a big package through reconciliation.
Sen. Manchin Believes An Infrastructure Deal Is 'Doable In A Bipartisan Way.'