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Biden confident he’ll get Joe Manchin’s vote on $3.5 trillion budget

President Joe Biden on Tuesday expressed confidence he’ll get Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s vote for his $3.5 trillion budget plan that expands social programs and raises taxes.

‘Joe, at the end, has always been there. He’s always been with me. I think we can work something out. I look forward to speaking with him,’ Biden told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House after returning from seeing the damage from Hurricane Ida in New York and New Jersey

Manchin infuriated many Democrats last week when he called for a ‘pause’ on Biden’s ambition budget plans, saying he can’t support them because of the price tag.

Biden, meanwhile, prides himself on his personal relationships with lawmakers after spending nearly 40 years in politics.  

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday rebuffed Manchin’s call to ‘pause.’

‘Obviously, I don’t agree,’ Pelosi told CNN

She said the legislation’s price tag wouldn’t go above the $3.5 trillion but shrugged off a question if she’d have to lower it to appease Manchin and fellow moderate Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

‘Well you have to go talk to the Senate about that, but we’re going to pay for as much of it as possible,’ she said. 

President Joe Biden expressed confidence he’ll get Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s vote for his $3.5 trillion budget plan

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin called for a 'strategic pause' in spending negotiations, citing its price tag

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin called for a ‘strategic pause’ in spending negotiations, citing its price tag

Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed Manchin's call for a 'pause' on the budget

Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed Manchin’s call for a ‘pause’ on the budget

Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer are preparing for nightmare September where they try to negotiate the details of Joe Biden‘s $3.5 trillion budget, pass an infrastructure bill, raise the debt ceiling and fight over voting rights.

It begins this week when congressional committees meet to begin formally drafting the president’s ambitious social policy program but the passage of the trillion-dollar program is not guaranteed.

Last week, Manchin called for a ‘strategic pause’ in spending, saying he could not support the $3.5 trillion price tag. And, in the 50-50 split Senate, Democrats need every member of the party to vote for it.

‘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,’ he wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal.

‘A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not. While some have suggested this reconciliation legislation must be passed now, I believe that making budgetary decisions under artificial political deadlines never leads to good policy or sound decisions,’ he added.

 Schumer has given his committees a September 15 deadline to finalize their part of the spending package. Then it will have to be negotiated among Senate Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, both of whom have expressed concern about the price tag. 

Manchin left the door open to supporting a smaller package that supports social programs like free pre-K, expanded paid family and medical leave and climate issues. But he said the amount of government spending tied to the coronavirus pandemic and fears about inflation had him worried about more money.

‘I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs,’ he noted in his op-ed.

A number of House committees are meeting ahead of the chamber’s return to work out details on their end. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is negotiating details of the budget plan among his Democratic senators and trying to pass national voting rights legislation

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is negotiating details of the budget plan among his Democratic senators and trying to pass national voting rights legislation

As lawmakers craft the president’s ambitious $3.5 trillion budget plan, Democrats are already warring with one another over what to include in it at what level of funding, including the expansion of Medicare and paid family leave. 

And Democrats are still trying to lock down how to pay for the package, bridge divisions on shoring up the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicare, draft immigration reform language and iron out sections on climate change. 


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