Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said on Sunday that he would not give his fellow Democrats the vote necessary to pass President Joe Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion economic reconstruction plan. Instead, he suggested the deal be cut by more than half, which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Called “absolutely unacceptable”.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Manchin asked why other members of his party were preparing to pass the bill so quickly.
“We have already disbursed $ 5.4 trillion and we have tried to help Americans in any way we can, and a lot of the help we have provided is still there and will be clear for the next year. next, 2022, so what’s the emergency? he said. “What’s the emergency we have? It’s not the same emergency we had with the US bailout.”
The US bailout, which was enacted in March, included stimulus payments, funding for vaccines and an extension of unemployment benefits due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Aims to vote on by September 27, would include efforts to reduce the costs of health care, child care and ‘children and housing, as well as to upgrade school infrastructure and create clean energy jobs to help tackle climate change.
Manchin argued that enough federal money has been spent. He said he would like to take some time to see where this money is going and better understand the trajectory of the pandemic and inflation before increasing the country’s debt further.
“Eight million people are still unemployed. Something is wrong. Don’t you think we should take a break and find out? The vulnerability that we have right now, we don’t know what happened with this COVID, it’s awful, coming back as it is with vengeance, ”he said. “We don’t know what inflation is, we know it’s rampant right now, I can tell you that in West Virginia inflation is rampant, and on top of that the challenges we’re going to have, geopolitical challenges, shouldn’t let’s be ready?
Manchin posted similar views in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece earlier this month.
Sanders, who drafts the economic bill as chairman of the Senate budget committee, called Manchin’s position unacceptable.
“I don’t think that’s acceptable to the President, the American people, or the overwhelming majority of the Democratic caucus,” Sanders said, speaking to Bash in a separate interview, of Manchin’s suggestions for doing so. dramatic cuts in the bill. “Many of us made a major compromise by dropping the $ 6 trillion bill we wanted, supported by the overwhelming majority of Democrats, to $ 3.5.”
Sanders stressed that there is a lot of urgency when it comes to climate change, as well as the needs of working families and students.
“Working families cannot afford to babysit their children, young people cannot afford to go to college,” Sanders said. “And then on top of all that, the scientific community tells us that we are witnessing a cataclysmic climate crisis – Oregon is burning, California is burning.”
However, in a separate interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Sanders expressed optimism that Democrats will still be able to get Manchin’s vote.
“We worked together [on the American Rescue Plan], we did it, and I think we will do it again, ”he said.
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