Sen. Joe Manchin says there is not any solution to cross $3.5 trillion funds invoice by September 27

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV) attends a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the energy department’s budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said he would not vote for the $3.5 trillion budget bill, adding that there’s “no way” to meet the September 27 deadline set by Democrats, during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There’s no way that we can get this done by the 27th if we do our job,” the West Virginia Democrat said.

Manchin’s comments come as lawmakers work to approve the measure which would invest in climate policy and expand social programs, including child care and health care, without the support of Republicans, who have opposed the proposed tax increases to fund it.

Last month Manchin voted to pass the resolution, though he indicated he would likely oppose the final bill if lawmakers did not reduce the cost. Last week, White House chief of staff Ron Klain told CNN that Manchin is “very persuadable.”

Manchin did not respond to repeated questions about an ideal price tag for the bill but said that the urgency for the bill is “not the same” as with the American Rescue Plan.

“We’ve already put out $5.4 trillion and we’ve tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can, and a lot of the help that we’ve put out there is still there and it’s going to run clear until next year, 2022. So what’s the urgency? What’s the urgency that we have? It’s not the same urgency that we had with the American Rescue Plan,” he said.

The American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden in March, included in part additional stimulus payments for many households, funding for vaccine production and distribution, and an extension of federal unemployment benefits. 

Earlier this month, Manchin called for a “strategic pause” in moving ahead with the plan in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. He signaled that Democrats would need to work for his vote and cited concerns about the effects of inflation and debt on existing government programs, comments he also echoed Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Manchin also responded to comments from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who tweeted earlier this month that there would be “no infrastructure bill without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill” and also appeared on “This Week.”

“… I never thought … the progress that we make in legislation was basically hold one hostage over the other,” Manchin said on “This Week.”

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