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Manchin: ‘I can’t really guarantee anybody’ reconciliation package will pass

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters regarding the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations as he arrives to the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Sunday that he “can’t really guarantee anybody” that the massive spending package spearheaded by Democrats will pass through reconciliation.

When asked by host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he can guarantee that the reconciliation package will pass in the Senate, Manchin said he can’t, citing the lack of information about how the investments would be paid for.

“I can’t really guarantee anybody. I have not guaranteed anybody on any of these pieces of legislation. Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for. This is paid for. Our infrastructure bill is all paid for. We don’t have a debt, that we’re going to incur more debt in throwing onto it,” Manchin said.

“And on the other, as far as reconciliation goes, it should be looked at the same. That’s why I said we’re going to get the budget resolution. Let’s start the process and then see where it goes,” he added.

Manchin’s comments come as a bipartisan group of senators is working to put the finishing touches on an infrastructure bill, which will likely be voted on this coming week. President Biden and senators from both parties announced last month that they reached an agreement on a framework that calls for $1.2 trillion in spending over eight years for investments that focus on traditional infrastructure, including transportation programs.

Democrats have since been teasing a second, much larger bill that would emphasize “human infrastructure,” including child care and education. Democrats are hoping to pass that legislation through budget reconciliation, which would dodge the legislative filibuster and require only a simple majority for passage.

The party’s hopes of a reconciliation bill, however, are becoming complicated, with some moderate members becoming skeptical of the initiative.

Manchin said on Sunday that he does not support a “quid pro quo” for the two packages, and instead would like to see them be considered separately.

“On that, we should just work in good faith and be honest with each other, so no one’s misled any way, shape or form, and there should be no quid pro quo. You do this, I will do this,” Manchin said.

He also raised concerns about the financial toll the package could take on the country in the long term.

“When it comes to big legislation, does it help the American people? How do you tell over 80 percent of people, Democrats and Republicans, that we can’t do an infrastructure bill, a traditional infrastructure? There’s a lot of need out there for the human infrastructure, I understand. But some of these programs that they are going to be putting in place could be in perpetuity, and even though it only has a 10-year run on it. So it’s being scored at 10 years at 3.5. It might have perpetuity, would be $5 trillion or more. So we have to look at everything and be honest with ourselves,” he added.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Jake Tapper Joe Biden Joe Manchin

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