Dem on Biden’s Stimulus: A Lot of Money Has Already “Gone Out the Door”

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West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is known for causing some headaches within his own Democratic Party, and he’s probably got some of his fellow senators in a rage as both parties negotiate over a COVID stimulus package. While some in the Democratic Party – Bernie Sanders among them – want to forgo bipartisan support in favor of a ram-it-through reconciliation process, Manchin said Tuesday that he is personally committed to finding legislation that both sides can agree on.

In an interview with Fox News, Manchin – whose vote could easily derail the Democratic Party’s desires of slamming through the full $1.9 trillion proposal from the White House – said that it’s important to get approval from both sides of the Senate.

“We’re going to make this work in a bipartisan way, my friends on the other side are going to have input and we’re going to do something that we agree on,” Manchin said. “I’m not going to do it just down the lines of … just party line vote. It has to make sense. We’re not going to blow it down the line.”

While Manchin did not say outright that he would block a budget reconciliation bill, he has also not committed himself to signing any current version of the legislation. He has told his fellow Democrats that he intends to work within bipartisan guardrails to ensure that everyone can come away from this bill…if not exactly “happy,” at least with something they can live with.

He noted in the interview that Republicans have made some good points in their negotiations, the chief one being that a whole lot of money has “gone out the door” already.

In the interview, Manchin also cast doubt on whether Democrats could fulfill their entire wishlist through the reconciliation process. For instance, because a federal $15 minimum wage involves taxes, spending, and debt limit legislation, it’s unlikely that the party can accomplish it without running head-first into the filibuster.

Are Manchin’s doubts just empty words?

Could be, according to CBS News:

The Senate on Tuesday cleared a procedural hurdle on the road to passing President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, a signal that congressional Democrats will continue to move forward with a vote to provide more economic assistance whether or not Republicans come to the negotiating table.

“We cannot, cannot afford to dither, delay or dilute. We need a big, bold package along the lines of what President Biden has proposed, the American Relief Plan. We hope that our Republican colleagues will join us in offering amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech ahead of the vote on Tuesday.

A motion to proceed to debate over the budget resolution that serves as the vehicle for the aid package passed by a 50 to 49 vote along party lines in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the push on Tuesday, telling reporters that Democrats have chosen the “partisan path” instead of working with Republicans to pass a deal that works for the entire Senate.

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