Manchin to House Democrats: Don’t Hold Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill ‘Hostage’

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Monday the House needs to “put politics aside” and pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Manchin released a statement that supported nine moderate House Democrats who are pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill.

Pelosi has vowed not bring the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote until the House takes up the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that is being considered.

On Saturday, Pelosi set an Oct. 1 target date for passing the infrastructure and social spending packages.

“The House should put politics aside and do the same [as the Senate],” Manchin said. “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.

“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.”

House Democrats returned to Washington on Monday, with leadership wanting to approve a budget blueprint to pass the $3.5 trillion spending plan later this year without Republican support. They then want to leave town as soon as Tuesday, The Hill reported.

Progressives and House leadership have said the bipartisan bill doesn’t have the votes to pass unless it’s directly tied to larger spending package.

Pelosi, who was expected to bring the budget resolution up on the floor on Tuesday, can afford to lose the backing of only three caucus members. But even if the speaker and the nine moderates resolve their differences and the House approves the budget resolution, Democrats still face an uphill fight in forming a $3.5 trillion package.

Moderate Democrats in both chambers are concerned about the reconciliation bill’s price tag.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., needs every member of his caucus on board to pass the legislature.

Both Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have expressed objections to the $3.5 trillion bill.

Sinema has signaled that she intended to try to pare down the bill before the Senate returns next month. 

Sinema spokesman John LaBombard said 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.”

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