Manchin draws red line in infrastructure talks

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThe infrastructure bill creates more need for workforce training The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine Jesse Jackson arrested with voting rights protesters at Capitol MORE (D-W.Va.) warned on Tuesday that he wants both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate Democratic-only bill to be fully paid for.

“I think everything should be paid for. We’ve put enough free money out,” Manchin told reporters.

Manchin’s demand, if he sticks to it, could create real problems in Democratic negotiations. 

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The party in a matter of weeks is seeking to exercise a complicated legislative goal of winning Senate approval of both a bipartisan infrastructure measure opposed by many progressives and a budget resolution that will tee up a larger Democratic bill filled with spending priorities. The latter bill will not win any GOP support and will need to pass with just Democratic votes, including Manchin's.

A group of 22 senators, including Manchin, agreed to a framework for a bipartisan infrastructure deal that would spend $1.2 trillion over eight years. But there are concerns among Republicans that the bill isn’t fully paid for, threatening GOP support for it.

Republican negotiators in the group have warned that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could lowball the amount of revenue the proposal will raise.

“I know there are some things that we're relying on as pay-fors that will probably not receive a CBO score but nonetheless are real,” Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (R-Utah) told reporters.

Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to agree to a price tag for their larger bill.

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In order to pass the reconciliation bill, Democrats will have to have total unity from all 50 of their members for a budget resolution, which would include the top-line figure and instructions for the Democratic-only bill, and the subsequent infrastructure bill itself. The measure under Senate rules cannot be filibustered, meaning the GOP can't block it.

Democrats have yet to agree on a top-line figure. Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.) met with Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee on Monday night but didn’t get an agreement. They’ll meet again on Tuesday night.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Briahna Joy Gray: Voters are 'torn' over Ohio special election Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength MORE (I-Vt.) has thrown out $6 trillion, paying for roughly half, as where he would like to go on the Democratic-only bill.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response One officer dead after violent incident outside Pentagon Bipartisan bill would create NSC position to oversee 'Havana syndrome' response MORE (D-Va.), a member of the panel, has suggested he’s closer to roughly $4 trillion.

Manchin has acknowledged that a Democratic-only bill is “inevitable” but hasn’t committed to a specific top-line figure. He’s warned, though, that he doesn’t want to go as high as Sanders.

“I want to make sure we pay for it. I do not want to add more debt on. So if that’s $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion or $2 trillion, whatever that comes out to be over a 10 year period, that’s what I would be voting for,” Manchin told ABC News last month.