Text on the Senate’s $1.2 bipartisan infrastructure bill will likely be out today and the amendment process can start on Monday with a goal of reaching a vote before the week is over, and the bill will pass, Sen. Joe Manchin, a key negotiator on the measure, said Sunday.
“I think you’ll see text today and by this evening. hopefully, we can start our amendment process tomorrow,” the West Virginia Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It should finish up Thursday. “
He added that he thinks the measure will pass, because “when you see (Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer and (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell voting for the same thing, it’s unbelievable.”
He added that Schumer has been “great” while allowing work to continue on a bipartisan deal, and “he’s been working it hard…they keep telling us they’re getting closer and closer to getting the text done.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she won’t hold a vote on the bill, assuming it passes the Senate until the chamber passes a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, but Manchin said he would never give Pelosi guidance on how she runs the House.
“I believe every bill should go up on its own merits,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has described both bills as being “one big package,” but Manchin said he has never viewed them that way.
“I respect Sen. Warren and everybody else who has a different perspective of this,” he said. “When you talk about roads, bridges, rails, trains, internet services, everything that goes with it, it’s something that every state, every area of every state needs. This is something you should be getting 80 or 90 votes on. Right now we’re going to do great on that. I’ve always felt infrastructure is infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has said she thinks the $3.5 trillion bill is too big for her to support, but Manchin says he’s keeping an open mind, but he would rather see a smaller bill.
“Let me just say this out of respect for all of my colleagues who worked so hard, I respect them,” said Manchin. “Hopefully they respect us for what we’re doing.”
However, the country is “$28.6 trillion in debt and our debt goes up $4 billion a day,” the senator said. “Someone should be concerned about getting their financial house in order. I’m worried about that. I’m worried about inflation. With that, we’re going to pay for it. Let’s see the pay fors, if they’re real…we make adjustments will we go overboard and make ourselves non-competitive? I wouldn’t be for that.”
He also said he couldn’t guarantee that the larger reconciliation bill would pass the Senate, as it’s not known how the measures in it would be funded.
Manchin also commented on efforts for election reform legislation, noting that everyone wants fair, open, and secure elections, but still, there must be an orderly transfer of power, which didn’t happen after the 2020 election.
“When you have 41 million people believing Joe Biden was not duly elected, which he was in a very fair and very secure system, we’ve got to make sure whatever we do we don’t divide our country,” said Manchin. “I will not do anything to separate our country further.”
He also discussed the House’s failed vote to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium, saying he doesn’t know why the money would not go out the door on the measure, as House Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., want to extend billions of dollars to help renters pay their rents and landlords to pay mortgages.