Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is pushing back against President Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill, stalling its passage for the time being (https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/550382-manchin-pumps-brakes-on-biden-infrastructure-plans?rl=1). While Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate, they need everyone on board to get past a Republican filibuster. Sen. Manchin wants to meet with Republicans first in order to explore what a scaled back bill would look like.
Republicans recently proposed a smaller $568 billion option. Now bipartisan talks are considering $600 billion or even $1 trillion alternate bills. Many Republicans have been critical of the bill, arguing that the large price tag addresses many issues other than infrastructure, calling it a Democrat “wish list” fulfillment. Republicans are most worried about the significant corporate tax hike, arguing that it will have serious effects on the economy.
While Sen. Manchin doesn’t necessarily agree, he wants to push for a more bipartisan bill before there is a formal vote. He recently said, “For the sake of our country, we have to show we can work in a bipartisan way. I don’t know what the rush is. Stay here a little bit, work a little bit.” While Sen. Manchin likes what the Republicans have put together, he still views it as a framework that needs to be built up. He has also argued that the corporate tax hike is too high and should be moved to 25%, not 28%. Sen. Manchin has also pushed back against Senate rule changes that would allow Democrats to move forward with a simple majority, saying that it would be a direct threat to democracy.
Many of his Democratic colleagues disagree. They worry that many important provisions will be split up, or even removed if it isn’t passed as it is currently written. They are also concerned because there are many other issues they still need to address such as immigration and voting reform. Some Democrats pointed to the bipartisan attempts during the 2009 Affordable Care Act as an example of wasted time. Democrats hope that Sen. Manchin will ultimately side with them, but several aides have warned of the repercussions he will face if he is their lone defector.
Are these bipartisan efforts going to prove fruitful or are Democrats right and this will ultimately waste time? Should changes be made to speed up government processes, especially when a specific party holds Congress and the White House? Depending on the outcome, will this bill hurt or help the Democrats’ chances in 2022?
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