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Manchin warns House Democrats over bipartisan infrastructure bill delay

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is leaning on House Democrats to speed up consideration of the roughly $1 trillion Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, endorsing an effort by a band of moderates who are in a standoff with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Manchin, in a statement, noted the Senate passed the bipartisan bill before Democrats approved a budget blueprint that allows them to try to pass a $3.5 trillion spending plan later this year without GOP support. 

“The House should put politics aside and do the same. With so much uncertainty in the world today, one thing is certain, we must unite and pass a critical priority of the American people—improving our nation’s infrastructure,” Manchin said in a statement.  

“It would send a terrible message to the American people if this bipartisan bill is held hostage. I urge my colleagues in the House to move swiftly to get this once in a generation legislation to the president’s desk for his signature,” he added.  

Manchin’s statement comes as House Democrats are returning to Washington on Monday with Democratic leadership wanting to approve the budget resolution and leave town again as soon as Tuesday. 

Pelosi has vowed that she won’t bring the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal up for a vote until later this year when the House takes up the $3.5 trillion spending plan. 

But she’s in a standoff with a band of nine moderate Democratic lawmakers who want an immediate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Progressives and members of leadership have warned that the bipartisan bill doesn’t have the votes to pass unless it’s directly tied on the floor to the $3.5 trillion spending package. 

Pelosi is expected to bring the budget resolution, which paves the way for the Democratic-only package, up on the floor on Tuesday. Given unified GOP opposition, she can only afford to lose three of her members.  

Even if Pelosi finds a way to resolve the stalemate with the moderates and approves the budget resolution this week, Democrats still face big headaches in crafting a $3.5 trillion package. 

Centrist Democrats in the House have raised alarm over the price tag. And in the Senate, Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) needs total unity to pass the spending package as soon as next month. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) publicly warned late last month that she couldn’t support a $3.5 trillion cost for the Democratic-only spending package, signaling that she is going to try to pare down the bill during weeks of behind-the-scenes haggling before the Senate returns next month.  

John LaBombard, Sinema’s spokesman, reiterated on Monday that “she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion” and urged for the Senate’s $1 trillion bipartisan bill to be “considered on its own merits.” 

Tags budget reconciliation Charles Schumer Infrastructure Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Nancy Pelosi

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