Report: Joe Manchin Pushes for 'Strategic Pause' for $3.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Until Next Year
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that President Joe Biden and the Democrat-led Congress should take a “strategic pause” from the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, according to Axios.
Manchin reportedly told workers at a Procter & Gamble facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia, that he wanted to pause all negotiations on the $3.5 trillion bill until 2022. This comment mirrors his call for a “strategic pause” that he floated in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month.
The strategic pause until 2022 would significantly delay the $3.5 trillion and the $1.2 trillion so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plan to vote on the larger infrastructure bill by the end of September, and Pelosi plans to vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27.
Both bills’ delay could unwind the delicate balance struck between more moderate and progressive Democrats. Leftist lawmakers plan to vote against the bipartisan bill if it is not paired with the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill; however, moderate Democrats, want to pass the bipartisan bill as soon as possible, potentially next week.
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Democrats face historically slim majorities in both chambers of Congress and cannot afford to have many defections in the House and Senate.
Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have continued to lead the opposition to the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Senate Banking Committee chair, has said the multi-trillion-dollar bill should be larger than $3.5 trillion.
Manchin has urged Democrats to reduce the top-line spending levels for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.
Last week, nine House moderates urged Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure by the self-imposed September 27 deadline.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) speaks during a news conference on the infrastructure bill with fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus, outside the Capitol Building on August 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. The group criticized the bill for being too expensive and for supporting special interests. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
“We reiterate our appreciation for the Speaker’s public commitment to only bring a bill to the House floor that can garner the necessary 51 votes for passage in the Senate,” the nine lawmakers said in a statement. “We need legislation that can get out of the Senate and to the president’s desk.”
However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, warned, “It won’t have sufficient votes to pass the House.”
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip, said Sunday that Democrats might need to spend more time hashing out the differences between the party’s different wings.
“Sometimes, you have to kind of stop the clock to get to the goal,” he said.
“It may be $3.5 [trillion]. It may be close to that, or it may be closer to something else,” suggested they may change the spending levels for the mammoth legislation.
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said Sunday the top-line number for the bill may be less than $3.5 trillion, and the bill may take longer to pass:
On Fox, Budget Cmte chair Yarmuth says social spending bill “will be somewhat less than $3.5 trillion remember that's over 10 years..we're probably going to slip past the September 27 date sometime into into early October would be my best guess.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 19, 2021
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.