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Manchin Throws a Wrench in Dems' Hopes of Passing $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) says he will not vote for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill or legislation that has “anywhere near that level” of spending.

In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Manchin said, “The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future. Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.”

He went on to say that an “overheating economy has imposed a costly ‘inflation tax’ on every middle- and working-class American.”

Manchin also noted that the nation’s debt is over $28 trillion after the lawmakers passed several coronavirus spending bills worth $5 trillion.

“Now Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans,” Manchin said.

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He also argued that those who believe such concerns are “overstated” should ponder how the U.S. could respond to a terrorist attack, financial crisis, or a “major international crisis” if the country “needlessly spend trillions of dollars today.”

“Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not,” he said.

Manchin added, “I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs.”

He also blasted the process of drafting the bill as he argued the price tag was an “artificial” number and that lawmakers were “reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities,” which he said is not “how you make good policy.”

Should Congress pass the $3.5 trillion spending bill?

Manchin shared examples of what he believes are good economic signs that he said show “that the purpose of the proposed $3.5 trillion in new spending isn’t to solve urgent problems, but to re-envision America’s social policies.”

Finally, Manchin said, “At a time of intense political and policy divisions, it would serve us well to remember that members of Congress swear allegiance to this nation and fidelity to its Constitution, not to a political party. By placing a strategic pause on this budgetary proposal, by significantly reducing the size of any possible reconciliation bill to only what America can afford and needs to spend, we can and will build a better and stronger nation for all our families.”

His op-ed comes as Democrats are aiming to pass a $3.5 trillion spending bill. Senate Democrats are hoping to use a process known as budget reconciliation which would let them pass the bill without Republican support and just 51 votes.

Without Manchin’s support, the bill would fail in the upper chamber.

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