Manchin says Democratic-only infrastructure bill 'inevitable'

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions MORE (D-W.Va.) said on Thursday that it was "inevitable" that Democrats would move forward with a separate, Democrat-only infrastructure package — it was just a question of what the size and scope will be.  

"Reconciliation is inevitable because basically Republicans I understand on the tax they don't want to undo anything on the 2017 [bill]. For those who didn't vote for 2017, there should be some adjustments. I'm open to that," Manchin told reporters.  

Manchin's remarks are a huge boon for Democrats because the party needs all 50 of its members to support reconciliation — the budget process that lets them bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. 

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Manchin has been careful to not say if he would be supportive of using the budget process to craft a larger, Democratic-only infrastructure bill as he and a group of senators tried to lock down their smaller bipartisan agreement. That got a significant boost on Thursday when Biden endorsed it, though the group still needs to sell and shore up support from their colleagues.  

Manchin, on Thursday, didn't specifically endorse a specific size or scope for the Democratic-only bill but appeared to signal that the details of the bill, not whether or not it would happen, were what needed to be debated. 

"There's going to be a reconciliation bill. We just don't know what size it's going to be," he added.  

Democrats are moving their infrastructure proposals on a two-track system. On one track is the bipartisan proposal and on the other is the Democrat-only bill.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that he wants to vote on the bipartisan bill and the budget resolution that lays the groundwork for the multitrillion-dollar Democratic bill in July. 

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"Today was a big step forward in the two step strategy," Schumer told reporters. "Our plan continues to have a budget resolution and a bipartisan bill on the floor of the Senate in July. Everyone in our caucus knows you can't do one without the other." 

Progressives are sending warning shots that they want concrete details on what will be in the Democrat-only bill before they agree to help pass the bipartisan package. And Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill On The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.), amid progressive pressure, vowed on Thursday that her chamber will not pass the bipartisan package until it is ready to pass the Democrat-only bill.  

Manchin endorsed the two-track system on Thursday. 

"The only strategy we have is two tracks. I think we're going to do, hopefully ... the bipartisan agreement see if we can get that done and then move to the other one," Manchin said.