Manchin: “I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion”

Senator Joe talks big (and right), but will he fold again?
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This week, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin declared that he won’t vote for the Dems’ $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill.

Fiscal and social conservatives are giddy about his his declaration which — taken at face value — would kill the bill given the 50-50 Senate.

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Let’s start with the essence of Manchin’s logic … which he wrote in a WSJ op-ed:

My Democratic friends want to use the budget reconciliation tactic to push through sweeping legislation that makes “historic investments.”

The proposed $3.5 trillion in new spending isn’t to solve urgent problems, but to re-envision America’s social policies.

Democratic congressional leaders have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises.

An overheating economy has already imposed a costly “inflation tax” on every middle- and working-class American.

Spending trillions more dollars not only ignores present economic reality, but makes it certain that America will be fiscally weakened when it faces a future recession or national emergency.

In the words of Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called debt the biggest threat to national security.

I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation has on the value of Americans’ wages and income and sky-rocketing debt has on existing government programs

Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation:

> To provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic

> To allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not

> To allow for a complete, transparent reporting and analysis of the implications a multitrillion-dollar bill will have for this generation and the next.

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My take: Manchin’s declaration is far less than meets the eye.

First, he’s suggesting “a pause” … not a “dead on arrival”

Second, note the wiggle room that the Senator provides himself:

> “Anywhere near $3.5 trillion” … The senator did not rule out voting for a smaller bill. Is $3 trillion distant enough $3.5 trillion? $2.5 trillion? $2 trillion?

> “Without further clarity” … English translation: more pork for West Virginia.

Third, consider Manchin’s track record.

He often (usually?) talks like a rational independent.

But, when crunch time comes, he jumps lemming-like on the Dem train.

So, I’m not taking this one to the bank yet.

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