Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly dished out copies of a proposal that he presented to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the congressional budget resolution to his Democrat colleagues in the Senate this week “to underscore that he has outlined his red lines on President Joe Biden’s jobs and families plan” and defend his decision to stifle the White House’s spending agenda.
In a document obtained by Politico, Manchin outlined his conditions for joining the Democrats in passing the White House’s pricey spending plan. The first requirement states that the bill cannot exceed his topline spending ceiling of $1.5 trillion and requests that debate on the reconciliation package begin no later than Oct. 1. Manchin authored the document in July shortly before the Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“Senator Manchin does not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation if it exceeds the conditions outlined in this agreement,” the document states in bolded text.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appears to have signed the page and added a note that he would “try to dissuade Joe on many of these.” A vast majority of the requirements laid out by Manchin and viewed by Schumer, however, were overlooked in the Democrats’ audacious plan which costs far more than the swing senator’s initial maximum.
Schumer’s office denied that he agreed to the conditions and simply claimed that his signature solidified “that he would work to convince Sen. Manchin to support a final reconciliation bill — as he has doing been for weeks.”
“Leader Schumer never agreed to any of the conditions Sen. Manchin laid out; he merely acknowledged where Sen. Manchin was on the subject at the time,” a Schumer spokesperson told Politico.
Manchin is a prime target for congressional Democrats and the White House to use as another vote to pass their massive proposals. Schumer’s unwillingness to honor Manchin’s previous demands, however, could push the Democrat senator to side with Republicans who want to keep the legislation from passing via budget reconciliation.
“I wasn’t trying to be a fly in the ointment at all. I’ve never been. I’ve never been a liberal in any way shape or form,” Manchin said. “For them to get theirs, I guess elect more liberals. I’m not asking them to change.”
“I’m willing to come from zero to $1.5” trillion, he added, referring to claims from the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the $3.5 trillion plan — which some estimate will cost over $5 trillion over the course of a decade — will cost “zero” dollars.