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Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat who is blocking a massive social welfare spending passage, said he would consider raising the cost of the measure from his proclaimed limit of $1.5 trillion to as high as $2.2 trillion in order to reach a compromise that can satisfy party lawmakers in both chambers.
Manchin told reporters in the Capitol he won’t rule out a measure that costs between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion, which is the range President Joe Biden recommended to House Democrats in a closed-door session last week.
Last week, Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, announced he would not support a bill that costs more than $1.5 trillion, but he also suggested he’d be willing to compromise. He called a plan by House Democrats to spend $3.5 trillion on a host of new government programs “fiscal insanity” and said the tax hikes they plan to use to pay for the programs would be “vindictive.”
Manchin did not specifically pledge to raise his cap above the $1.5 trillion.
“I’m not ruling anything out, but the bottom line is I want to make sure that we’re strategic, and we do the right job, and we don’t basically add more to the concerns we have right now,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday as he entered a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats.
Manchin is among two Senate centrists who are forcing the party to shrink the cost and scope of their massive spending package. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, said the $3.5 trillion cost is too high.
Democrats want the bill to pay for free preschool, free community college, expanded Medicare benefits, paid family and medical leave, extended child tax credits, green energy policies, and much more.
They are hoping to strike a deal with Manchin and Sinema in time to pass the spending package by the end of October.
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Original Author: Susan Ferrechio
Original Location: Manchin signals he may raise his $1.5 trillion limit on big spending package