Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinProgressives push Senate Democrats to nix filibuster ahead of voting rights fight Progressives launch campaign to exclude gas from Congress’s clean electricity program AFL-CIO chief warns of election consequences for pro-filibuster Democrats MORE (D-W.Va.) faced swift criticism from progressives after he urged Democrats to “hit the pause button” on a $3.5 trillion spending package that would advance key parts of President BidenJoe BidenHouse panel advances 8B defense bill Democrats defeat GOP effort to declare ‘lost confidence’ in Biden after Afghanistan withdrawal House committee moves to block private funds for National Guard deployments MORE’s legislative agenda.
Manchin on Wednesday called on his colleagues to hold off on “rushing to spend trillions on new government programs” as the party drafts the forthcoming package, citing concerns about what he referred to as “runaway inflation,” the coronavirus delta variant and the recent withdrawal of the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
The following day, the senator also warned his colleagues in a strongly worded opinion piece that he couldn’t support the $3.5 trillion price tag 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.”
The remarks by Manchin, who has expressed concerns about the dollar amount in the past, drew ire from progressives who support the coming spending package, which Democratic leaders say will unlock funding for a number of party-backed priorities, including health care expansions, climate change efforts and immigration reform.
“Pause on finally delivering child care, paid leave, education, health care, affordable housing, climate action, and dental, vision, and hearing to millions of families across America? Absolutely not,” Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money: Progressives dig in for fall fight with centrists on Biden budget plan Progressives dig in for fall fight with centrists Pelosi frames deal with centrists on infrastructure as a ‘clarification’ MORE (D-Wash.), leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted shortly after reports of Manchin’s comments emerged on Thursday afternoon.
Pause on finally delivering child care, paid leave, education, health care, affordable housing, climate action, and dental, vision, and hearing to millions of families across America?
Absolutely not. https://t.co/9Ec91f4Ee9
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 2, 2021
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls on Senate to reject Rahm Emanuel as Japan ambassador Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal On The Money — Companies consider making unvaccinated workers pay MORE (D-N.Y.) knocked Manchin in a pair of tweets not long after.
“Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called ‘bipartisan’ fossil fuel bills. It’s killing people. Our people. At least 12 last night,” she wrote, referring to the death toll in New York City after the area was hit by remnants of Hurricane Ida this week. “Sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.”
“Fossil fuel corps & dark money is destroying our democracy, country, & planet. All day our community has been pulling bodies out of homes from the flood. Entire families,” she continued. “And we’re supposed to entertain lobbyist talking points about why we should abandon people & do nothing? No.”
Fossil fuel corps & dark money is destroying our democracy, country, & planet.
All day our community has been pulling bodies out of homes from the flood. Entire families. And we’re supposed to entertain lobbyist talking points about why we should abandon people & do nothing? No.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 2, 2021
Her comments also come as scientists have linked climate-related factors such as warm ocean temperatures and increased sea level rise to Ida’s intensity.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) also shared photos of homes in his district that were hit this week, asking the senator, “How much destruction do we need to see before it’s worth investing in our climate?”
Hey Joe, these are the homes in my district after last night’s storm.
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) September 2, 2021
“Instead of writing op-eds, why don’t you look into the faces of my residents who have had their basements flooded with sewage multiple times and their power out for days, Senator Manchin. We deserve better,” Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOn The Money — Companies consider making unvaccinated workers pay Progressive Democratic lawmakers urge Biden to replace Powell as Fed chair Progressives dig in for fall fight with centrists MORE (D-Mich.) tweeted.
Instead of writing op-eds, why don’t you look into the faces of my residents who have had their basements flooded with sewage multiple times and their power out for days, Senator Manchin. We deserve better. https://t.co/jSMlIB4SYa
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 2, 2021
The Hill has reached out to Manchin’s office for comment.
The backlash comes as congressional Democrats have struggled to unite on a path forward on federal spending in recent weeks.
Democrats have been working to craft a $3.5 trillion spending package essential to Biden’s economic agenda and are expected to move on the legislation quickly using a process called reconciliation, which allows the party to pass the measure in the evenly split Senate without Republican support.
The House and Senate last month passed a resolution laying out the framework for the coming package. The upper chamber also advanced a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that still awaits consideration in the House.
House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCawthorn to introduce resolution condemning political violence after warning of ‘bloodshed’ if elections are ‘rigged’ Pelosi’s office rips McCarthy’s silence over Cawthorn’s ‘bloodshed’ comment Raskin writing memoir about Jan. 6, son’s suicide MORE (D-Calif.) has held off bringing the scaled-down, physical infrastructure bill to a floor vote, despite pushback from moderates, as progressives have expressed concerns about how the larger package will fare with their more centrist colleagues if the physical infrastructure bill has already passed Congress.