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Sen. Joe Manchin says he won't vote for $3.5 trillion spending bill

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Sunday said he would not join Democrats in voting for President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Sunday said he would not join Democrats in voting for President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said he will not vote for President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill, saying he does not believe Congress can pass it within the timeline set out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Manchin, D-W.Va., told CNN's State of the Union he has informed Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer that he will not vote for the proposal, saying specifically there was "no way" Congress could get a vote done by Pelosi's Sept. 27 deadline.

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"We've already put out $5.4 trillion and we've tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can and a lot of the help that we've put out there is still there and it's going to run clear until next year, 2022, so what's the urgency?" Manchin said. "What's the urgency that we have? It's not the same urgency that we had with the American Rescue Plan. We got that out the door quickly. That was about $2 trillion."

The resolution includes plans to overhaul laws related to healthcare, climate change and other top priorities including $726 billion for universal pre-kindergarten, childcare for working families, tuition-free community college and $107 billion for "lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants" and $332 billion to invest in public and affordable housing.

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In late August, House lawmakers interrupted their recess to return to Capitol Hill, voting to approve a plan committing to vote on the $3.5 trillion budget spending plan and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill by Sept. 27.

When asked what he believed an appropriate price tag for the spending bill would be, Manchin declined to provide a specific number but said he could "assure" it would not be $3.5 trillion.

"My ceiling is this, the need of the American people and for us to basically take in consideration inflation," said Manchin. "No one's concerning about the debt. Our debt as of Friday was $28.7 trillion? And we're not even talking bout that. No one is talking about that."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate budget committee, responded to Manchin's comments, describing his position as unacceptable.

"I don't think it's acceptable for the president, to the American people or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus," Sanders, I-Vt., told CNN. "Look, we worked with Sen. Manchin to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was enormously consequential and helpful to working class families in getting us out of the economic disaster that befell us as a result of COVID. I believe we're going to all sit down and work together to come up with a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which deals with the enormously unmet needs of working families."

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Sanders said "a few days her or there" would not matter in terms of pushing back the timeline but added there is a "sense of urgency."

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