Manchin signals he’ll support $1.75T price tag for spending plan

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signaled on Thursday that he could support the $1.75 trillion price tag for Democrats’ social spending plan, even as he hasn’t said if he supports the overall framework deal. 

“We negotiated a good number that we worked off of, and we’re all dealing in a good faith,” Manchin told reporters. 

Asked if $1.75 trillion was too high, Manchin replied: “That was negotiated.” 

Manchin’s comments are his first indication that he supports a $1.75 trillion top line — the size of the framework deal that Biden announced. Democrats are proposing paying for their plan, in part, with tax increases focused on high-income households and corporations. 

The top line is dramatically smaller than the $3.5 trillion spending ceiling that Democrats paved the way for with a budget resolution earlier this year that teed up the spending deal. Progressives had hoped for a $6 trillion bill.  

But Manchin’s preferred price tag has been substantially smaller. Manchin had said for weeks that he was at $1.5 trillion. Biden then threw out a top line of around $2 trillion, and Democrats over the past week said they hoped to get Manchin to come up to between $1.7 trillion and $2 trillion. 

Manchin’s suggestion that he helped negotiate the $1.75 trillion top line for the deal on the spending framework comes as he sidestepped several times on Thursday saying if he supports the framework.  

“This is all in the hands of the House right now. I’ve worked in good faith and I look forward to continuing to work in good faith and that’s all I’m going to say,” Manchin told reporters earlier Thursday.

Manchin has been at the center of a lobbying storm as Democrats try to lock down his support for different provisions of the spending framework. 

During a vote on Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) stopped Manchin to speak with him. 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is also trying to get Manchin’s support for including a paid family leave plan in the package, was also spotted lobbying him on the Senate floor. 

Even as Manchin hasn’t said whether he supports the framework, some of his Democratic colleagues told reporters on Thursday that they believe it has the backing of all 50 Senate Democrats. 

“It’s clear that they back this plan,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told reporters about Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), adding that he had spoken to both of them. 

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) added that he also believed there were 50 votes for the framework deal. 

“Joe Biden would not have announced this deal and put Sens. [Sinema] and Manchin’s name in the first paragraph of the announcement unless he felt a high degree of confidence,” Kaine said. 

Tags Angus King Build Back Better bill Charles Schumer Chris Coons Dick Durbin Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kirsten Gillibrand Kyrsten Sinema Reconciliation Ron Wyden Tim Kaine Tom Carper

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