Joe Manchin doubles down on refusing to add to the deficit to fund a Democrat-only infrastructure plan
- Manchin doubled down on his insistence to fully finance a Democrat-only
- "I think we've put enough free money out," he said, citing the federal response to the pandemic.
- Manchin's support is critical for
Democratsin an evenly-divided Senate.
'I think everything should be paid for now," he told reporters. "I think we've put enough free money out."
Manchin later told reporters on Tuesday he would only back an infrastructure package that was fully financed by tax revenue, adding, "How much debt can y'all handle?" He wants to do this with tax increases, though he favors less aggressive measures than Biden put forward such as a smaller corporate tax bump.
"I think we've incurred over 28 and a half trillion dollars of debt and I'd like to start paying for it," he told reporters, referring to the national debt that the US government has accumulated over several decades.
Senate Democrats are still negotiating the final price tag of an infrastructure plan that only requires a simple majority vote, allowing Democrats to skirt
On reconciliation, Democrats are undertaking a delicate balancing act to find an amount that satisfies progressives who want to spend big and moderates like Manchin who want to fully finance it with tax increases.
"We're trying to move as quickly as we can," Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a key player in the talks, told Insider. Talks that began last month could stretch into late July, with passage of a bill sometime in the fall.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday that he was seeking a package that was over $3.5 trillion. He argues the package presents Democrats with an opportunity to overhaul the economy in a scale unseen since the 1930s.
"Childcare, clean energy, family care, we know what we need," Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told reporters. "We've got to get to a topline number that will support that."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer alluded to the potential potholes that lie ahead on Tuesday."It is not going to be easy, but it is certainly going to be worth it," he said.
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