Manchin has 'a lot of concerns' over timing of Biden spending plan

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump haunts Biden vaccine mandate in courts IRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks MORE (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday signaled he’s not on board with Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE’s (D-N.Y.) plan to get President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE’s $1.75 trillion climate and social spending package passed into law by Christmas.

Asked how he feels about the plan to speed the massive budget reconciliation bill, known as Build Back Better, through the Senate over the next month, Manchin said he has a “a lot of concerns,” cupping his hands around his mouth for emphasis as he took an elevator up to the second floor of the Capitol to vote.

Manchin in September called for a “strategic pause” on the legislation, warning in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “making budgetary decisions under artificial political deadlines never leads to good policy or sound decisions.”

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Manchin made his comments Tuesday about the timeline for Build Back Better when asked about Schumer’s plan to put it on the floor before Christmas. 

Schumer told colleagues earlier that morning he will keep driving hard on the budget reconciliation package to get it passed as soon as possible. 

“Make no mistake, we will keep going in the weeks ahead by passing the rest of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. If we want to create jobs and help families lower costs, the best thing we can do is pass build back better,” he said.

But Manchin has yet to be persuaded by that argument and told reporters Tuesday that the claim that pushing another $1.75 trillion into the U.S. economy will reduce inflation was a new concept for him. 

“I really haven’t heard any specifics on that one. They say it’s going to lower [inflation]? I’ll have to check on that one,” he said.

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Manchin has repeatedly argued that Democrats need to proceed slowly and cautiously in the social spending plan to avoid overheating the economy and using up funds that might be needed in case there’s a new surge of COVID-19 infections or other unforeseeable emergencies. 

He told reporters earlier this month that Democratic losses in the Virginia and New Jersey elections should be a signal to policymakers in Washington that they need to slow down consideration of the budget reconciliation package.

“I’ve been saying this for many, many months, people have concerns, people are concerned,” he said the day after Republican Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinNortham announces final steps in clearing, ceding area where Lee monument stood Judges uphold GOP win for Virginia state House seat, cementing party control of chamber Georgia becomes ground zero for 2022 elections MORE defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffeNortham announces final steps in clearing, ceding area where Lee monument stood Judges uphold GOP win for Virginia state House seat, cementing party control of chamber To empower parents, reinvent schools MORE in Virginia's gubernatorial race.

“And for us to go down a path that we’ve been going and trying to accelerate it and it has been slowed down  I think we need to take our time and do it right,” he added.