Manchin signals he’s OK with Biden spending vote this year
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signaled on Wednesday that he’s OK with a plan to vote on President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social and climate spending bill by the end of the year — a day after warning that he had concerns with the Christmas timeline.
“I’m not in charge of the timing. Whatever they want to do is fine with me,” Manchin told reporters, asked if he was comfortable bringing up the spending bill this year.
Pressed if he was OK with bringing it up this year, Manchin added: “Whatever they wanna do is fine. … If we’re gonna vote, vote.”
Manchin’s comments come as he’s repeatedly warned Democrats against rushing the bill, which has been repeatedly delayed in the House, and pieces of which are still being negotiated by Democrats in the Senate.
Asked about the timeline to pass the bill by the end of the year, Manchin told reporters Tuesday he has a “a lot of concerns.”
Manchin notably didn’t say on Wednesday if he supported the spending bill. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) have said they are continuing talks with Manchin over tax and climate provisions, respectively.
Manchin has also raised concerns about the inclusion of a paid leave plan and a nicotine tax.
House Democrats are aiming to pass Biden’s spending plan this week and Senate Democrats want to vote on it by the end of the year. Congress is facing a packed end of year calendar including funding the government, a Dec. 15 deadline on the debt ceiling and a massive defense bill that eats up floor time.
To pass the bill in the Senate, Democrats will need total unity from all 50 members of their caucus, which they don’t have yet. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) hasn’t said if she supports the bill and other Democratic senators acknowledge they haven’t read it yet.
“The BBB is very important to America. We believe it’s very popular with Americans. We aim to pass it before Christmas,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Tuesday.