Sen. Joe Manchin said that he would not vote for a COVID-19 relief bill if it did not have bipartisan support, possibly derailing his party’s plan of forcing the enormous stimulus package through Congress via budget reconciliation.
“What I have told everybody, I made it very clear, from the President of the United States to all of my colleagues, we’re going to make this work in a bipartisan way,” Manchin said when asked by Fox News if he would vote to push forward with reconciliation. “My friends on the other side are going to have input and we’re going to do something that we agree on. I’m not going to do it just down the lines, just saying a party line vote…We’ve built too much trust up among each other to allow this to fall apart.”
Pressed to commit to his position after he did support starting the reconciliation process, the West Virginia Democrat said he would now “blow” the legislation “down the line” in one party fashion.
“We’re not going to blow it down the line. They can’t do it down the line,” Manchin said. “I said ‘fine, we’ll start this process but I want you to know I will vote in a bipartisan way.’”
The comments added clarity to Machin’s previous remarks, which some interpreted as support for a party line reconciliation process.
From Hot Air:
Again, all of this is slightly different than what Manchin said in his statement. If he sticks to it, Democrats are not going to win a party line vote. They are going to have to win over at least a few GOP Senators. Manchin didn’t specify how many. Technically, one GOP vote would make this bipartisan. Is that good enough for him or does he want to see something that is bipartisan enough that reconciliation isn’t needed, meaning at least 10 GOP votes. I guess we’ll see but for the moment it looks like Pelosi and Schumer are not going to be able to ram this through.
The Biden Administration’s massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package has received resistance from Republicans, many of whom took issue with the size of the spending as well as an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour that was added to the legislation.
A group of 10 moderate GOP Senators met with administration officials to offer a counter proposal, but Democrats have already begun the process of trying to pass the original bill through the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority vote in the Senate.
With a 50-50 split in the upper chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie breaking vote, Democrats cannot afford any defections unless they can round up at least some GOP support.
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