Manchin: “My Democratic Colleagues Are Rushing to Spend $3.5 Trillion”

Democrats are barreling ahead on a social spending and climate bill that could cost $3.5 trillion, looking to pass it through the arcane “reconciliation” process we explained last week. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — whose vote would be needed to pass any such measure — wants a “strategic pause.”

Manchin wrote in the WSJ, “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. … I have always said if I can’t explain it, I can’t vote for it, and I can’t explain why my Democratic colleagues are rushing to spend $3.5 trillion.”

In making this call, and challenging a president and congressional leadership of his own party, Manchin is once again displaying the common sense and clarity that West Virginians — and now the nation — have come to expect from him.

Democrats’ efforts to rush through trillions of dollars in new spending and new taxes, including creating expensive new entitlements, without transparency, scrutiny, or public debate (let alone bipartisan consultation) is no way to run a country. Too much is at stake to go so big and so fast without slowing down to understand the implications of what is being proposed on taxes, spending, inflation, employment, and so much more.

On the House side, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) are expressing concerns, calling for provisions on how to pay for the new spending to be laid out, among other demands. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, says Manchin is “asking exactly the right questions” about how much should be spent, and how it will be paid for.

While White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain thinks Manchin is “persuadable,” there are also electoral reasons why Democrats should heed Manchin’s concerns. Vulnerable Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire — all “purple states” where a leftward policy lurch could hurt the incumbents.

WaPo columnist Henry Olsen, citing President Biden’s recent “dismal” polling numbers among independents, writes that Manchin “sees clearly what his party’s progressives don’t or won’t: The Biden presidency is nosediving, fast, and needs to take time to figure out what’s going wrong.”

Manchin is right — on policy, politics, and process. In three weeks, the House is due to vote on the thoroughly vetted and thoroughly bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. They should pass it. And then Congress should take the pause prescribed by Manchin and give any other legislation the debate the American people deserve and demand.

Also…

·       Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), a member of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, took caucus Co-Chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on a bipartisan visit to the Minnesota State Fair. Phillips said in an interview, “The Problem Solvers Caucus, in my estimation, is the antidote to everything that is challenging our nation right now: division, discord, lack of trust, and lack of understanding.”

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