Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is putting liberal Democrats in the House and Senate on notice that he plans to set the terms of the budget reconciliation bill, The Hill is reporting.
The liberal Democrats hope to use the budget reconciliation bill to enact President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
But Manchin made it clear on Thursday that he would not be willing to support a reconciliation bill costing more than $1.5 trillion — $2 trillion away from the lowest number progressive Democrats have said they would accept, CNN reported.
“I’ve never been a liberal in any way, shape or form,” Manchin said. “I’m willing to come from zero to 1.5 (trillion).”
And The Hill pointed out that Manchin further angered his liberal colleagues by dismissing their spending plans at a time when Social Security and Medicare face funding shortfalls as “the definition of fiscal insanity.”
Liberal lawmakers were enraged.
Rep. Pramila Jaypal, D-Wash., chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus, accused Manchin along with moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz., of “blocking the president’s agenda, the Democratic agenda that we ran on.”
She blasted Manchin over his comment about “fiscal insanity.”
“I assume he’s saying the president is insane because this is the president’s agenda,” she said. “Look, this is why we’re not voting for the bipartisan [infrastructure] bill until we get agreement on the reconciliation bill and it’s clear we get agreement on the reconciliation bill and we’ve got a ways to go,” she said. “After that statement we probably have even more people willing to vote no on the bipartisan bill.”
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeting a photo of Manchin, wrote: “Ever notice how “deficit hawks” vote for record-high defense spending, yet claim bills that help people & challenge lobbyists are ‘too much?’
“22 Defense Bill = $768 billion/yr
“Build Back Better = $350B/yr
“Guess which got rubber stamped & which gets deemed a ‘spending problem?’”
Meanwhile, Manchin said he is willing to meet with House progressives. Still, he said he didn’t want to spend more than the $1.5 trillion, The Hill noted.
Manchin said he was worried about “changing our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”