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Manchin Not Ready to Vote ‘Yes,’ Blasts ‘Shell Games’ and ‘Gimmicks’

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) delivers remarks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., November 1, 2021.
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) slammed House progressives during a Monday press conference for refusing to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill until he agrees to back President Biden’s proposed reconciliation package.

“For the sake of our country…I am urging my colleagues in the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Manchin said at a press conference. “Holding that bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support of what you want.”

Manchin criticized the high cost of the reconciliation bill, which stands at roughly $1.75 trillion and includes spending on universal pre-school, extended child tax credits, and other measures.

“As more of the real details in the basic outline of the framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion dollar bill estimated to be almost twice that amount,” Manchin said. “This is a recipe for economic crisis.”

Manchin’s remarks came after House Progressive Caucus head Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports that the president “believes” he could get 50 votes in the Senate for the reconciliation bill.

“We now feel like we have what we need. We are taking the president’s word at the fact that he believes he can get 50 votes in the Senate. And I hope that the two senators that we’ve been waiting on these months…understand that this is a leap of faith,” Jayapal said, referring to Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.). “I made it clear to the White House that we did not have the votes for a BIF vote alone. I have said that for weeks.”

President Biden released a compromise framework of the reconciliation bill on Thursday, lowering the price tag to $1.75 trillion from an initial $3.5 trillion. The new framework retained free preschool, green energy tax credits and investments, and the expanded child tax credits. Initial proposals for free community college, paid family leave, and allowing Medicare to cover vision and hearing services were scrapped from the new bill.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) delayed a proposed vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday after House progressives refused to back it without seeing the final text of the reconciliation bill.

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