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Manchin warns House Democrats not to hold infrastructure 'hostage'

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Sen. Joe Manchin, a key centrist Democrat who helped pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, warned House lawmakers against waiting to pass the measure in favor of taking up a $3.5 trillion spending framework.

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said, “It would send a terrible message to the American people if this bipartisan bill is held hostage.”

Manchin issued the statement as the House convened to take up a budget resolution setting the levels for a massive funding bill aimed at providing a broad array of social welfare programs.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has rejected calls from the small faction of centrists in her caucus who want the House to pass the infrastructure bill first so that President Joe Biden can sign it into law.

The infrastructure bill would fund road, bridge, and waterway projects and expand broadband access. Biden has touted it as a critical jobs bill, and it is expected to pass the House with bipartisan support.

But Pelosi, heeding warnings from the large, liberal faction in her caucus, said the House won’t take up the infrastructure bill until the social spending legislation is passed, not just the budget resolution that sets the topline numbers. Liberals want to ensure centrists in both the House and Senate first vote for the $3.5 trillion spending package.

Pelosi’s timeline means infrastructure won’t be considered until the fall.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, told Democrats Monday he hopes to pass the infrastructure measure before Oct. 1.

"But it will take all Democrats working together to do that," DeFazio said.

Manchin said in a statement Monday the House should pass the infrastructure bill this week.

“With so much uncertainty in the world today, one thing is certain,” Manchin said. “We must unite and pass a critical priority of the American people — improving our nation’s infrastructure.”

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Centrist Democrats are balking at the $3.5 trillion budget resolution.

Both Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said the cost is too high.

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Tags: News, Congress, Infrastructure, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Budget

Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: Manchin warns House Democrats not to hold infrastructure 'hostage'

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