Manchin Calls for “Up or Down” House Vote on Infrastructure

“It is time to vote on the [bipartisan infrastructure] bill. Up or down. … I’ve worked in good faith for the past three months with President Biden, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and my colleagues on the reconciliation bill and I will continue to do so. … Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.”

So said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Monday, decrying the “shell games” and “budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount.”

While progressives have so far insisted on linking the Democratic social spending bill to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Politico says “progressives are sounding more eager to pass infrastructure as they get more evidence that they’ve pushed the rest of their party about as far as possible” on reconciliation. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Monday that progressives in the House are ready to pass both bills.

That could allow for the “complete transparency and analysis on the impact” of the reconciliation bill that Manchin seeks. House passage of the infrastructure bill — which easily passed the Senate more than two months ago — would let President Biden sign it into law. But House passage of the reconciliation bill would send it over to the Senate, where Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) still have doubts about its contents.

This would, in effect, force the “strategic pause” on reconciliation that Manchin called for in September, while finally getting the infrastructure bill signed into law.

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