(PatriotWise.com)- Nothing is official yet, but Republicans were dealt a blow this week when moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he’d support his party’s massive infrastructure bill.
There was hope among conservatives that Manchin might not back the larger package, which would have made it nearly impossible for Democrats to pass the bill using budget reconciliation. Democrats would need all 50 of their members in the Senate to vote in favor of the package for it to pass.
Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia who has voted against his party in the past, was a target of Republicans who were trying to get him to vote against the package.
This week, though, he told MSNBC that he assumed since “day one” that his party would be using budget reconciliation to pass the large infrastructure deal. He said this because Republicans are hesitant to make any changes to the 2017 tax bill.
“We’re going to have to work it through reconciliation, which I’ve agreed that that can be done. I just haven’t agreed on the amount, because I haven’t seen everything that everyone is wanting to put in the bill.”
Last week, Manchin told reporters he thought budget reconciliation was “inevitable” for a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure package that President Joe Biden is proposing. Some Democrats have said the package could climb as high as $6 trillion, but that may be unlikely to even gain enough support among Senate Democrats.
Manchin is a central figure in this fight to use budget reconciliation, as he was when Democrats passed Biden’s American Rescue Plan earlier this year. Despite being a Democratic, the West Virginia senator is considered more moderate, especially when it comes to spending money.
Manchin was a key part of the bipartisan group of senators who negotiated a smaller infrastructure plan that will total approximately $1.2 trillion in spending over the next eight years. That bill focuses much more on what would be termed traditional infrastructure projects, such as broadband connectivity, bridges and roads.
The larger bill that Biden and other Democrats have been pushing would include many non-traditional projects that fall under what they’re calling “human infrastructure.” That has led many Republicans to point out that Democrats are just trying to load the bill with unrelated liberal agenda items.
That’s why the bipartisan group got together to come up with a bill that was focused on just traditional infrastructure projects. But, that’s not enough for Biden and the progressives.
They’re still forging ahead with the budget reconciliation process to get the rest of their proposals passed through the Senate, even with no support from Republicans at all. If they are successful at doing so, it will be the second time liberals use the process in the last six months — spending trillions and trillions of dollars in the process.
And all along, Biden has been saying he wants to negotiate on a bipartisan basis. His words don’t seem to match up with his actions, though.