Manchin Cautions against Passing Infrastructure Bill via Budget Reconciliation

Policy

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2021. (Oliver Contreras/Pool via Reuters)

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) cautioned against using budget-reconciliation rules to pass the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, in comments to NBC reporter Garrett Haake on Thursday.

Manchin expressed optimism that there would be a bipartisan deal on infrastructure between President Biden and Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican senator from West Virginia. Many Democrats have pushed to pass the deal in the Senate via budget-reconciliation rules, allowing for a simple majority to support the bill in place of a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

“Are you ready to go it alone with just Democrats?” Haake asked Manchin.

“No. I don’t think we should. I really don’t,” Manchin responded. “Right now, basically, we need to be bipartisan.”

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Manchin also said “it’s a disaster waiting to happen” if Democrats attempt to pass major legislation, such as on infrastructure or voting procedures, without Republican support.

The comments came a day after the Senate parliamentarian issued a new ruling by which Democrats may use the budget reconciliation process for only one more bill this year.

Democrats initially considered passing the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, and proposals to expand Medicaid and lower the cost of prescription drugs as separate pieces of legislation. However, because of the parliamentarian’s ruling, Democrats would have to combine the proposals into one bill in order to take advantage of the budget-reconciliation process.

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