November 01, 2021

Manchin Statement On Infrastructure And Reconciliation Negotiations

A video of Senator Manchin’s statement can be found here
Washington, DC– Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement about infrastructure and reconciliation negotiations.
“I’ve heard a lot of mischaracterizations of my position since the President met with the House Democrats last Thursday, and I would like to make an attempt to clear up any confusion about where I stand on the legislation working its way through Congress.
In all my years of public service, I’ve never seen anything like this. The President of the United States has addressed the House Democratic caucus twice to urge action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Last week, the Speaker urged the importance of voting and passing the bill before the President took the world stage overseas. And still no action.
In my view - this is not how the United States Congress should operate. The political games must stop. Twice now, the House has balked at the opportunity to send the bipartisan infrastructure legislation to the President. As you’ve heard, there are some House Democrats who say they can’t support this infrastructure package until they get my commitment on the reconciliation legislation. It is time to vote the bipartisan infrastructure bill up or down, and go home to explain your decision.
I have worked in good faith for three months with President Biden, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues on the reconciliation bill and I will continue to do so. For the sake of the country, I urge the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Holding this bill hostage won’t work to get my support for the reconciliation bill.
Throughout the last three months, I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our nearly $29 trillion in national debt that no one else seems to care about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation.
Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy and the American people. Every elected representative needs to know what they are voting for and the impact it has, not only on their constituents, but the entire country.
That is why we must allow time for complete transparency and analysis on the impact of changes to our tax code and energy and climate policies to ensure our country is well positioned to remain the super power of the world while we inspire the rest of the world towards a cleaner environment. I, for one, also won’t support a multitrillion-dollar bill without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on our economy and existing government programs.
For example, how can I in good conscience vote for a bill that proposes massive expansion to social programs, when vital programs like Social Security and Medicare face insolvency and benefits could start to be reduced as soon as 2026 for Medicare and 2033 for Social Security? How does this make sense? It doesn’t. Meanwhile, elected leaders continue to ignore exploding inflation, that our national debt continues to grow, and interest payments on the debt will start to rapidly increase when the FED has to start raising interest rates to try to slow down runaway inflation.
With these factors in mind, I have worked in good faith for months with all my colleagues to find a middle ground on a fiscally responsible piece of legislation that fixes the flaws of the 2017 Trump tax bill and delivers on the needs of American families and children. However, as more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games and budget gimmicks that make the real cost of this so-called “$1.75 trillion dollar” bill estimated to be twice as high if the programs are extended or made permanent. That is recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever misrepresent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is.
While I have worked hard to find a path to compromise, it is obvious compromise is not good enough for some in Congress. It’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything. Enough is enough. It’s time our elected leaders in Washington stop playing games with the needs of the American people and holding a critical infrastructure bill hostage, while there is opportunity in the reconciliation bill we can all agree on. Again, to be clear, I will not support the reconciliation legislation without knowing how this bill will impact our debt, our economy and our country. For the sake of our country, I again urge the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
As I have said before, holding this bill hostage won’t work to get my support for reconciliation bill. I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward, but I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country and the American people.
Let’s work together on getting a sensible reconciliation package that strengthens our nation.”
A video of Senator Manchin’s statement can be found here.