Calling the proposed Democratic budget package of progressive sugar plums “fiscal insanity,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Wednesday said he has not budged in his opposition to the mammoth spending bill.
Manchin and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have long been holdouts in the Senate and have indicated opposition to a bill that totals $3.5 trillion, a sum Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders has already said is “not enough” for what should be doled out to social programs.
This week, they were courted by President Joe Biden in an effort to get them on board, as CBS News reported. The two votes matter to Democrats because without them – and with continued united Republican opposition – the spending bill cannot pass a Senate that’s divided between the parties 50-50.
That makes Manchin’s announcement a huge roadblock to progressive plans.
Manchin explained his stand in a statement on his website.
“I can’t support $3.5 trillion more in spending when we have already spent $5.4 trillion since last March. At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question – how much is enough?” he wrote.
“What I have made clear to the President and Democratic leaders is that spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity,” he wrote.
Manchin wrote that claims that spending will not fuel increased inflation are pipe dreams.
“Suggesting that spending trillions more will not have an impact on inflation ignores the everyday reality that America’s families continue [to] pay an unavoidable inflation tax,” he wrote.
Manchin also expressed doubts that an unprecedented deluge of taxpayer dollars will create the version of nirvana its supporters claim will take place.
“Proposing a historic expansion of social programs while ignoring the fact we are not in a recession and that millions of jobs remain open will only feed a dysfunction that could weaken our economic recovery,” he wrote.
Manchin noted he supports tax code changes to address fairness concerns, but that there is a limit.
“Overall, the amount we spend now must be balanced with what we need and can afford – not designed to reengineer the social and economic fabric of this nation or vengefully tax for the sake of wishful spending,” he wrote.
Manchin did not rule out further conversations about an appropriate amount of spending, but wrote that “I cannot – and will not — support trillions in spending or an all or nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces.”
Manchin also hinted that the final solution may not be a one-party bill, as the $3.5 trillion package was designed to be.
“If there is one final lesson that will continue to guide me in this difficult debate ahead it is this: America is a great nation but great nations throughout history have been weakened by careless spending and bad policies,” he wrote. “Now, more than ever, we must work together to avoid these fatal mistakes so that we may fulfill our greatest responsibility as elected leaders and pass on a better America to the next generation.”
Sinema is doing her negotiating directly with the WH and Schumer. She’s been at the WH for meetings 10 times since the summer. Durbin, No. 2, himself acknowledged being in the dark about her and Manchin’s demands. Sanders: “I don’t want to talk about Sinema and Manchin.” https://t.co/GvnwyQ8oYs
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 29, 2021
Progressives in the House of Representatives say they want to move forward regardless of what Manchin does.
“Progressives won’t back down on delivering paid leave, education, health care, child care, and climate action because of an arbitrary deadline,” said Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, according to Fox Business. “We’re sticking to our deal and delivering for the people.”
Radical Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota indicated disgust with Manchin and Sinema.
“It is saddening to see them use Republican talking points. We obviously didn’t envision having Republicans as part of our party,” she said, according to The Hill.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.