As President Joe Biden continues to seek at least some Republican support for his far-reaching infrastructure bill, and progressives lose patience with negotiations, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has declared his unwillingness to go along with party-line approval of spending on such a massive scale, possibly dooming the package altogether, as The Hill reports.
Manchin’s comments come as Biden has been engaging in negotiations this week in an effort to get GOP lawmakers on board with his sweeping infrastructure plan, even offering a concession on the corporate tax hikes initially proposed as a means to pay for the massive spending incorporated into the bill, as NPR noted.
The president’s seeming desire to reach across the aisle at least to some degree has prompted frustration among the more liberal wing of his party, with some members urging him to move forward without regard to Republican support and instead look toward passing the bill through the process of budget reconciliation to sidestep any potential filibuster.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) encapsulated those sentiments earlier this week, tweeting, “No more wining and dining the party that voted 100% against survival checks and the American Rescue Plan. We all know they’re not gonna come around – let’s stop pretending otherwise. It’s time to go big, bold, fast, and alone to deliver for people across America.”
However, Manchin’s support – as is frequently the case — is critical to achieving the unanimity on any infrastructure bill that would be necessary for passage in the 50-50 divided Senate if that route were chosen, and thus far, he has signaled opposition to moving ahead without at least some support from his Republican colleagues.
During an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Manchin was asked directly if he would support passing the infrastructure package via reconciliation and abandoning attempts to secure Republican votes.
“No, I don’t think you should. I really don’t,” Manchin declared. “Right now, basically we need to be bipartisan. If we can’t become – I’ve always said this. I’ve never seen a pothole that had a Republican or Democrat name on it. It’ll bust your tire, I don’t care who you are,” as Breitbart noted.
This is not the first instance in which Manchin has served as the proverbial fly in the ointment when it comes to pushing the progressives’ wish list through Congress. He remains one of the key obstacles standing in the way of the current liberal desire to eliminate the Senate filibuster rules, something which would open the floodgates to radical legislation of every description.
Manchin’s ability to stand firm in the face of pressure from the left on the filibuster and a host of other issues prompted the president himself to single him out for criticism – together with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) – during a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma earlier this week. However, as is too often the case, Biden’s jab claiming that Manchin sides with Republicans more often than he does Democrats, was swiftly exposed as factually wrong.