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Manchin Voices 'Serious Concerns' About Dems' $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is raising concerns about what he says are the potential “grave consequences” of passing a $3.5 trillion spending bill amid an economic recovery.

In a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning, Manchin acknowledged that he voted to move forward with the budget reconciliation process because “it is important to discuss the fiscal policy future of this country.”

“However, I have serious concerns about the grave consequences facing West Virginians and every American family if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 trillion,” he said.

He noted that Congress has “injected more than $5 trillion of stimulus” into the economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The West Virginia senator also pointed that there are millions of job openings across the country and rising inflation which he called “an unavoidable tax on the wages and income of every American.”

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“These are not indications of an economy that requires trillions in additional spending,” Manchin said. “Given the current state of the economic recovery, it is simply irresponsible to continue spending at levels more suited to respond to a Great Depression or Great Recession – not an economy that is on the verge of overheating.”

Finally, he said, “More importantly, I firmly believe that continuing to spend at irresponsible levels puts at risk our nation’s ability to respond to the unforeseen crises our country could face.”

Read the statement below:

Should Congress pass the $3.5 trillion bill?

His comments come as Congressional Democrats are seeking to pass a $3.5 trillion spending bill through a process known as budget reconciliation which would let them pass legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate.

For the bill to succeed, all 50 Democrats would have to vote for it, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

According to CNBC, the Senate advanced a resolution early Wednesday that “directs committees to craft a bill that would spend up to $3.5 trillion on climate initiatives, paid leave, child care, education, and health care.”

Some Congressional Democrats have tied the success of a smaller bipartisan infrastructure package to the passage of the reconciliation bill.

While the Senate advanced a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Tuesday, support for the larger spending bill appears tenuous among moderate Democrats in the House and Senate.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also signaled that she does not support passing a $3.5 trillion bill, as IJR reported.

“I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion — and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead,” she said.

That prompted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to fire back, “Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin – especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment.’”

If Manchin or Sinema vote against the bill, it would fail.

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