Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Any hopes that Democrats might have had about passing their $3.5 trillion spending bill were dashed Wednesday as moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, emphatically, that he would not support it.
In a statement Wednesday, Manchin said he would vote against the spending bill on the grounds of it being “fiscal insanity”. He also said that the government must work within the realm reality, not what they want reality to be:
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. This is the shared reality we all now face, and it is this reality that must shape the future decisions that we, as elected leaders, must make.
He later added, “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.”
On Thursday, Manchin said that his top-line threshold for the budget bill is $1.5 trillion, referring to a memo he had sent over the summer. He then recommended that representatives campaign on the items that are cut out of the bill prior to the mid-term elections, to see if that is what the American public would want.
Manchin’s statement drew sharp criticism from progressive Democrats, highlighting what has been a consistent divide between the centrist and progressive camps of that party.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told reporters Wednesday that Manchin’s statement broadened the divide.
Politico quoted Jayapal as saying, “This is why we’re not voting for the bipartisan bill until we get a reconciliation bill. After that statement we probably have even more people willing to vote no.”
Progressives in the House have stated they would only approve a Senate spending bill if a concurrent social spending bill is also passed.
According to a White House statement, President Joe Biden met with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the ranking Democrats in the Senate and House, to find a way to get the president’s “Build Back Better” act to his desk.
Biden has espoused that the $3.5 trillion dollar spending bill will ultimately result in a net cost of $0 to American taxpayers, “because it will repeal special, wasteful tax giveaways to the rich and big corporations.”
My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars.
Instead of wasting money on tax breaks, loopholes, and tax evasion for big corporations and the wealthy, we can make a once-in-a-generation investment in working America.
And it adds zero dollars to the national debt.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 26, 2021
However, when pressed further during a press conference on Tuesday, Psaki did acknowledge that this is not entirely true, commenting that in regard to America’s top earners, “Yes, we’re asking them to pay more.”
While there is enough support for the bill amongst Democrats in the House, every Democratic Senator must vote in favor of the bill for it to pass, meaning Manchin’s vow to vote no equals a defeat of the measure.
Manchin has been joined by fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in expressing concerns about the price tag of the spending bill.
Arizona Democrats have responded by threatening to vote no confidence in Sinema if she does not vote along party lines on the spending bill and other Democrat priority bills.
In July, Manchin garnered the support of 20 senators, nine of whom were Republican, in the creation of a moderate spending bill. That bill never gained momentum.