Manchin Backs Democrat-Only ‘Infrastructure’ Bill, Says Talks on Price Tag Ongoing

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Sen. Joe Manchin speaks to news reporters following the announcement of a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., June 24, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said Tuesday that he supports moving forward with a Democrat-backed “infrastructure” bill to be passed without GOP support via budget reconciliation rules.

In addition to a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Biden administration is attempting to pass additional legislation that would expand health care, care for seniors and children, and include measures to combat climate change. Manchin said he assumed from “day one” that Democrats would need to pass such legislation via budget reconciliation rules, which allow the Senate to approve bills by a simple majority instead of the filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold.

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“We’re going to have to work it through reconciliation, which I’ve agreed that that can be done. I just haven’t agreed on the amount, because I haven’t seen everything that everyone is wanting to put in the bill,” Manchin said during an interview on MSNBC.

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Manchin added that the Senate can “go through the process” of negotiating the bill keeping in mind that Democrats will “probably have to go to reconciliation and then do what we can afford to do.”

Negotiations over a separate bipartisan bill dealing specifically with hard infrastructure were thrown into disarray on Saturday after President Biden said he would not pass the bipartisan bill unless the second, more expansive piece of legislation passed via reconciliation. Manchin indicated on Tuesday that passage of the two bills should not be linked.

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“Saying I’m going to not vote for the other one because you haven’t guaranteed the vote for everything, we’ve never done legislation that way, I’ve never been a part of it in 10 years I’ve been in the Senate,” Manchin said.

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