West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is tossing a wrench into his party’s plans to pass a massive $3.5 trillion spending bill by saying Sunday the measure does not have his support.
“We don’t have an urgency. Don’t you think we ought to debate a little more, talk about it, see what we got out there?” Manchin told on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Host Chuck Todd interjected by inferring that Manchin could actually support the bill, but he was corrected by the moderate Democrat. “No, not $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said.
“We’ve got 5.4 out right now,” Manchin continued, referring to spending bills that have already been passed but that not all monies have been dispersed to the various programs they fund. “It’s going to be a lot more than 3.5 over eight-to-ten years,” he added, because “it’ll continue — a lot of these programs never come off” of future budgets.
“With that being said, that’s a social reform. I’m just saying we need to be looking at everything and we’re not,” Manchin, a former West Virginia governor, continued.
“We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting or someone’s going to fall through the cracks,” he added.
“I want to make sure that children are getting taken care of, that people are basically having an opportunity to go back to work,” he continued. “We have 11 million jobs that we haven’t filled, 8 million people still unemployed. Something’s not matching up there.”
He went on to say that business owners are constantly saying they cannot find enough workers, which is an ongoing problem.
Asked by Todd how he would rewrite the massive bill if he had the opportunity, Manchin said he would “look at the tax code” because he has always believed that the 2o17 tax reform law passed by a congressional Republican majority and signed by then-President Donald Trump benefited “the wealthy” too much.
But he also said that corporations have to be able to compete “globally” as well, which was Trump’s impetus for lowering the corporate tax rate, the highest tier of which was as high as 39 percent, to a flat 21 percent, while still paying “their fair share.”
“I think the IRS should be able to do its job, all those things. But when you do all that, Chuck, realistically and honestly, what does that spin off without going in debt?” Manchin added.
Over on CNN, Manchin told host Dana Bash that it’s not possible to get the bill done responsibly and passed by an end-of-the-month deadline.
“There’s no way we can get this done by the 27th if we do our job,” he said, adding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “will not have my vote, and Chuck knows that.”
Earlier this month, Manchin advised his Democratic colleagues pushing to pass the legislation to slow down on the bill’s passage.
“If the country is facing what we’re facing now. … I would ask my colleagues and all of the Senate to hit the pause button on the $3.5 [trillion],” Manchin said at a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce event. “Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.”
“Hit the pause button as Americans. Hit the pause button,” he added.
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