Joe Manchin says he ‘can’t really guarantee anybody’ that the Democratic-led reconciliation package will pass the Senate

  • Joe Manchin on Sunday said he couldn’t guarantee passage of the Senate reconciliation package.
  • “Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for,” the senator said on CNN.
  • AOC said the House could scuttle a bipartisan spending bill absent a reconciliation package with progressive priorities.

Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said that he “can’t really guarantee anybody” that the Democratic-led reconciliation package would be approved by the Senate.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the moderate West Virginia Democrat told host Jake Tapper that he couldn’t assure passage of any particular legislation.

“I can’t really guarantee anybody,” he said. “I have not guaranteed anybody on any of these pieces of legislation. Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for. This is paid for. Our infrastructure bill is all paid for. We don’t have a debt, that we’re going to incur more debt in throwing onto it.”

He added: “As far as reconciliation goes, it should be looked at the same. That’s why I said we’re going to get the budget resolution. Let’s start the process and then see where it goes.”

The Senate appears to be on the cusp of passing a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has been heralded by President Joe Biden and will likely be voted in the coming week.

Biden and a group of Democratic and Republican senators in late June reached an agreement on a long-awaited plan that calls for eight years of spending investments that will fund critical infrastructure projects like highway and bridge upgrades.

A separate $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill hashed out by Senate Democrats would feature infrastructure priorities focused on childcare, clean energy, and education. The party is aiming to pass the legislation through the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple-majority and isn’t subject to the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster.

Read more: Would-be staffers to Kyrsten Sinema got an email warning: You ‘aren’t working for Elizabeth Warren’

However, with nonexistent GOP support for the larger spending bill, all 50 members of the Democratic caucus have to stick together in order for the legislation to pass.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday said during a separate interview with Tapper that there were “more than enough” Democratic House members who could scuttle the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the reconciliation package doesn’t pass the Senate.

The progressive New York Democrat told Tapper that if the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill doesn’t pass the Senate, the House “will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in,” a reference to “human infrastructure” priorities like universal pre-Kindergarten and climate initiatives.

During the interview, Manchin also raised concerns about the price tag of the legislation, expressing worries about the country’s long-term financial health.

“Someone should be concerned about getting your financial house in order,” he said. “So, I’m worried about that. I’m worried about inflation. But, with that, we’re going to pay for it. So, let’s see what the pay-fors — if they’re real.”

He added: “Are we going to go overboard and make ourselves noncompetitive? I wouldn’t be for that.”

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