Sanders hits back at Manchin's spending concerns

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Briahna Joy Gray: Last-minute push for voting legislation felt 'perfomative' Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service MORE (I-Vt.) took a veiled swipe at Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Last-minute push for voting legislation felt 'perfomative' Manchin: Biden spending plan talks would start 'from scratch' Manchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officials MORE (D-W.Va.) on Monday after the moderate senator raised a red flag about the costs of Democrats' social and climate spending bill.  

Sanders, speaking with reporters at the Capitol, didn’t mention Manchin by name, instead addressing “anybody in the Democratic caucus or elsewhere that’s worried about fiscal responsibility and the deficit.”

“The fact is ... that, according to the CBO [Congressional Budget Office], the infrastructure bill runs up to a $250 billion deficit. It’s not paid for,” Sanders said. 

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“The legislation that I wanna see passed ... is paid for in its entirety. It will not have an impact on inflation. So if we’re talking about fiscal responsibility, I think what we’re trying to do with the reconciliation bill is the right thing,” he added. 

The CBO estimated in August that the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which was negotiated by a group of senators, including Manchin, would add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade.

Supporters of the infrastructure bill argued that it was fully paid for and that the CBO analysis didn’t include all of their revenue streams, including unused coronavirus relief money.  

The CBO hasn’t released an estimate for the impact for the social and climate spending bill that is still being negotiated by the White House and congressional Democrats.  

But Manchin, during a press conference earlier Monday, raised concerns about the cost of the spending package and signaled that he wants to see a CBO analysis before the Senate votes.

“Throughout the last three months, I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our nearly $29 trillion in national debt that no one else seems to care about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation,” Manchin said earlier.

“Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy and the American people,” he added.