Manchin Is ‘Very Uncomfortable’ with the Biden Agenda’s Price Tag

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Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) speaks with an aide in Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), a moderate Democrat, said Wednesday he is becoming “very uncomfortable” with the rising cost of President Biden’s agenda.

“It’s a lot of money, a lot of money,” Manchin told reporters. “That makes you very uncomfortable.”

Manchin’s comments came after Biden unveiled the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan on Wednesday. Together with the $1.9 trillion COVID-response bill that Congress passed in March, as well as the $2.3 infrastructure plan that Biden has proposed, the president’s three plans would cost a sticker-shock-inducing $6 trillion, if passed.

While Manchin has said he wants to pay for as much of Biden’s infrastructure package as possible because he doesn’t “know how much more debt” the country should incur, he has questioned whether raising taxes is the best way to fund the plan.

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“We’re at $28.2 trillion now, debt, so you have to be very careful. There’s a balance to be had here,” he said.

He has previously said that he does not support Biden’s plan to hike the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and would instead favor 25 percent. On its own, the tax increase would not raise the roughly $4 trillion needed for Biden’s two proposals.

“Are we going it be able to be competitive and be able to pay for what we need in the country? We’ve got to figure out what our needs are and maybe make some adjustments. Who knows?” Manchin said.

Manchin’s opposition could prove troublesome for the bills’ future in the evenly divided Senate. Even if Democrats chose to pursue budget reconciliation as a path to passing the bill with a simple majority (instead of the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation), the measure would require support from every member of the Democratic caucus to advance.

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