Majority in new poll backs Manchin ‘pause’ on $3.5T spending plan

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) arrives to the Capitol for a vote to end debate regarding the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Sunday, August 8, 2021.
Greg Nash

A majority in a new poll say they back Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) call for a “pause” on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package, according to a survey from the bipartisan group No Labels.

In the poll of 974 voters, 60 percent said they favored a strategic pause in order to understand the implications of the spending plan, compared to 40 percent who said that large-scale social welfare spending is needed now.

The $3.5 trillion bill is currently being drafted and is set to include mainly Democratic priorities such as expanding Medicare and immigration reform.

During remarks at a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce event last week, Manchin raised concerns about “runaway inflation,” the delta variant of the coronavirus and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as reasons to slow down the spending plan. He further said there wasn’t a reason to rush the spending plan, saying it’s “not anything we need immediately.”  

“Hit the pause button as Americans. Hit the pause button,” Manchin said. 

Axios reported Tuesday that Manchin privately said he is unlikely to support any package higher than $1.5 trillion.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has rejected Manchin’s call, saying Wednesday that the Senate was moving “full speed ahead” on the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also dismissed Manchin’s comments, telling reporters, “Well, obviously I don’t agree.”

“I’m pretty excited about where we are. Everybody’s working very hard, the committees are doing their work. We’re on a good timetable, and I feel very exhilarated by it,” she said.

A slim majority of Democrats in No Label’s survey did not support the pause. Fifty-two percent of Democratic respondents said social welfare spending was needed now, compared to 48 percent who supported the pause.

Conversely, 52 percent of independents polled supported the pause, compared to 48 percent who said they did not.

Manchin’s largest support among party affiliations came from Republicans, with 78 percent supporting the pause and 22 percent not supporting it.

Manchin also had more support from rural and suburban areas, among whom 70 percent and 64 percent support the pause, respectively.

Tags $3.5 trillion bill Charles Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin Manchin Nancy Pelosi Senate spending plan

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