Manchin didn’t sign off on framework, no ‘rush’ to get deal
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he didn’t sign off on a framework for a $1.75 trillion social spending bill before it was released from the White House and that he didn’t think there was a “rush” to get a deal.
“No,” Manchin said, asked if he had signed off on the framework, adding that if he had, his current pushback wouldn’t be “genuine.”
“The White House knew exactly where I stood. There was a couple of concerns that we had that we needed to work through,” Manchin said.
“I’ve been here long enough to know that when you say you signed off on things, you got to keep your word and I’m not going to be a liar or make anyone else a liar, so that’s why I hadn’t,” he added.
The White House unveiled the framework for the $1.75 trillion spending deal on Thursday, with White House officials predicting it would get support from all Democrats.
Manchin, asked if he had thrown Biden a curveball as the president prepared to go overseas for an international climate change conference, pushed back, pointing to House progressives.
“Not at all. I feel basically it’s time to do something. The president’s over there. He went there. He asked for something before he left and everyone ignored it. I didn’t ignore it,” Manchin said, referring to Biden’s meeting with House Democrats.
“It was very easy ask just vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It has a tremendous amount of clean energy in it,” he added.
Biden had hoped to attend a United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, with evidence of the U.S. commitment to climate change after the Trump years, when the U.S. turned away from lowering emissions. Objections from Manchin, however, led to cuts to key programs that progressives had wanted to include in the framework’s climate provisions.
Manchin, who signaled last week that he had negotiated the top-line figure, made clear on Monday that he wasn’t yet ready to support it.
House Democrats are hoping to vote on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate in August, and the social spending bill this week.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Hill that Senate Democrats are still hoping to pass the bill by Thanksgiving, giving them less than three weeks, though he acknowledged that wasn’t locked in.
“It’s not a hard and fast prediction, but our hope is to get it done before Thanksgiving,” he said.
But Manchin indicated that while he thinks Democrats will ultimately pass something — saying they are “going to get something done” — he didn’t view the weeklong break, scheduled to start on Nov. 22, as a hard deadline.
“I’m not putting restraints on timing. I just think it’s going to take quite a while. … I think time’s going to be needed. We’re not in a rush right now,” Manchin said.
He added on Tuesday that he wants a Congressional Budget Office analysis on the impact and the costs of the bill and still didn’t support including Medicare expansion or paid leave in the bill.
“I’m not for any expansions that basically, that has a trust fund that is insolvent,” he said, asked about Medicare.