Manchin Rips Domestic Bill, but Party Still Counts on Him

Some Democrats sound weary but don't expect him to undermine Biden
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2021 7:20 PM CDT
Democrats Play Down Manchin Shots at Biden's Bill
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin addresses reporters Monday during a news conference on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Don't expect Sen. Joe Manchin to support President Biden's $1.85 trillion domestic legislation, at least not yet, the West Virginia Democrat made clear in a press conference Monday. He accused members of his party of employing "shell games, budget gimmicks" to make the bill palatable, Politico reports. Manchin's stance could mean the end of his party's hopes for a vote this week, if not the end of Biden's agenda altogether. But congressional Democrats mostly saw no reason to panic, partly because they didn't hear much new, despite the dramatics. "It didn’t seem like anything he couldn't have sent in an email," said Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Manchin said he needs more time to study the plan and its impact on the budget, per the New York Times. And he wants a vote on the infrastructure measure. Negotiations, which have focused largely on answering Manchin's objections, are continuing. But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who leads the Progressive Caucus, is starting to sound impatient. She plans to let Biden work on Manchin, per CNN. "We are going to do our work in the House and let the Senate do its work," she said. "But we're tired of, you know, just continuing to wait for one or two people." Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the House version already satisfies Manchin's concerns.

Democrats need all 50 of their senators to vote yes for the social spending framework to pass; no Republicans are behind it. Biden "obviously has work to do" with Manchin, Sen. Mazie Hirono said after the press conference. Other Democrats expressed confidence that he wouldn't abandon the president. "Manchin is not going to be the guy who pulls the foundation out of the Biden first-year track record," said Sen. Tim Kaine. "I don't think he'll surprise me on this." Jayapal said: "The president said he thinks he can get 51 votes for this bill. We are going to trust him." (More Joe Manchin stories.)

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