West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) has been a thorn in the side of Democrats seeking to ram President Biden's legislative agenda through Congress, especially when it comes to the $3.5 trillion budget package that faces a questionable future in both the House and the Senate.
Earlier in September, Machin penned an op-ed titled "Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion" calling for a "strategic pause" on Biden's bloated and woke budget. "I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs," Manchin explained.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, now back in D.C. after their August recess, are putting the pressure on their respective caucuses to hold together and pass Biden's budget at a time the White House needs a win to try and turn the tide of negative stories amid multiple domestic and international crises.
Manchin, though, is pumping the brakes. Again.
According to new reporting based on information from people with knowledge of Manchin's discussions on the bill, he "is privately saying he thinks Congress should take a 'strategic pause' until 2022 before voting on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending package."
NEW: Per @Axios, Joe Manchin is looking to delay voting on Biden's $3.5 trillion social-spending package until 2022.— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) September 19, 2021
Pushing consideration off until 2022 shreds the Schumer and Pelosi timeline that sought to vote on the budget by the end of September. It also jeopardizes Pelosi's plans to pass the large and woke $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill by the beginning of next week because woke lawmakers threatened they would not support infrastructure without passage of the budget reconciliation package.
Despite the White House's best attempts to woo Manchin, he's remained firm on his cap of $1.5 trillion for the budget, far below what Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi would consider palatable.
It's hard to believe one member of Congress could throw the Biden agenda and promises made by Schumer and Pelosi into peril, but due to the slim majorities of Democrats in both chambers, he has the power to do exactly that.
If Manchin wants to delay the reconciliation bill until 2022, he has the power to do that in the 50/50 Senate. He can stop the whole thing by himself.— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 19, 2021
If he's got the guts. https://t.co/JM75kyWz80