Sen. Joe Manchin unprepared to support reconciliation bill until its impact is assessed

As a major part of his sweeping policy agenda hangs by a thread on Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden received a devastating blow this week when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he could not support the massive social spending bill championed by Democrats unless and until its full fiscal impact is subjected to comprehensive analysis, as the Daily Wire reports.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Manchin assailed fellow Democrats for “playing games” with the process of passing both a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure bill as well as the much costlier legislation encompassing a host of far-left social welfare priorities.

Standing firm in the opposition he has mounted to uncritical acceptance of the measures throughout the course of negotiations, Manchin stated, “Throughout the last three months, I’ve been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $29 trillion in national debt that no one seems to really care about or even talk about.”

The senator expanded on his position, declaring, “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 consqeuential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it’ll have on our national debt, our economy, and most importantly, all of our American people.”

Effectively accusing his colleagues of not truly understanding what the legislation contains, Manchin expressed concern about what he views as the “shell games” and “budgets gimmicks” designed to make the measures more palatable before passage, but which will ultimately serve as a “recipe for economic crisis.”

Manchin is apparently not alone in his concerns, as The Hill also reported that a group of at least five Democrat House members have also indicated their desire to see a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the proposed legislation before it comes to the chamber floor for a vote.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), who serves as chair of the House Budget Committee, did not concur with those seeking further clarity on the impact of the reconciliation bill, suggesting, “When you have most of the bill is written in a way that you know what the amount is – I mean, if you say you’re gonna spend $400 billion on child care and pre-K education, that’s what you’re gonna spend.”

Acknowledging, though, that “it’s a little bit different on the revenue side, because that’s more uncertain,” Yarmuth seemed to think that the two weeks it would likely take for the CBO’s cost estimate for the bill to be complete was simply too long to wait before voting on the bill.

Amid all of the wrangling between Manchin, Yarmuth, and the progressives in the party who are still threatening to scuttle a vote on the smaller infrastructure measure until the parameters of the social spending bill are finalized, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reportedly still operating under the assumption that votes on the measures will be held this week, but given all the remains unresolved, that may be a bit of wishful thinking on her part.