Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Climate activists target Manchin Hoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat MORE (D-W.Va.) fired back at his progressive critics on Wednesday, warning that he views trillions in spending to be “fiscal insanity.”
Manchin issued a lengthy statement on Wednesday that reiterated his concerns about the sweeping size of the spending bill being pushed for by progressives, but with few new specifics on what he would support.
“What I have made clear to the President and Democratic leaders is that spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity,” Manchin said in the statement.
Manchin added that the social spending bill at the heart of Biden’s agenda should be driven by “what we need and can afford” and not to “reengineer the social and economic fabric of this nation or vengefully tax for the sake of wishful spending.”
“I cannot – and will not - support trillions in spending or an all or nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces,” Manchin said, while adding that he hopes a path forward can be found.
Manchin’s comments come as House progressives, and some of his own Senate colleagues, have become increasingly frustrated by Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Biden gets personal while pitching agenda MORE (D-Ariz.) for their opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag.
Progressives are threatening to sink a Senate-passed infrastructure bill that Manchin helped negotiate unless they can reach a deal with the Senate on the reconciliation package.
Neither Sinema or Manchin have said publicly what size of a spending bill they could support, and progressives argue they’ve been vague with offering specifics about what they support or oppose in the sweeping plan.
Manchin, however, argued that he had been clear about supporting changes to the tax code and wanting work requirements on benefits included in the bill.
“Since the beginning of this reconciliation debate, I have been consistent in my belief that any expansion of social programs must be targeted to those in need, not expanded beyond what is fiscally possible,” he said.
“Our tax code should be reformed to fix the flaws of the 2017 tax bill and ensure everyone pays their fair share but it should not weaken our global competitiveness or the ability of millions of small businesses to compete with the Amazons of the world,” he added.