Manchin roils Biden plans, seeks 'pause button' on massive $3.5 trillion liberal package

Centrist Democrat from West Virginia raises concerns timing not right with "runaway inflation," bungled Afghan exit.

Updated: September 2, 2021 - 10:57pm

Sen. Joe Manchin, the maverick Democrat from West Virginia who finds himself increasingly at odds with his own party's leadership, is roiling President Biden's plan to secure a quick win on a $3.5 trillion spending plan by calling for Congress to "hit the pause button" on liberals' top agenda item in Washington.

Manchin first made the remarks earlier this week at a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce event, citing all "the country is facing" right now, like "runaway inflation," the coronavirus resurgence and the bungled Afghan war exit.

"I would ask my colleagues and all of the Senate to hit the pause button on the $3.5 [trillion]," Manchin said Wednesday. "Let's sit back. Let's see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do." 

He acknowledged the likely tension his position might create with his party, which controls the Senate by a single vote.

"I know they're going to go nuts right now because what I said is going to all my caucus in Washington," he said. "But I'm thinking of it from the standpoint of where we are as a nation today." 

You can watch his remarks here.

Manchin doubled down on his position in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday, saying Congress needs to show spending temperance.

"The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future," he wrote. "Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree."

Manchin's remarks came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed the $3.5 trillion package through the House on a party-line vote and also passed voting procedure legislation without including any changes Manchin sought.

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