WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) signaled concerns over the Democrats’ climate and social spending bill in a warning sign for the party after speaking with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday.
Manchin’s latest concerns come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hopes to get the Build Back Better Act passed before the end of the year, setting a goal before Christmas. Well, now with the holiday now 12 days away, that is looking less likely with Manchin along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) holding out.
In a critical conversation, Manchin spoke with the President Monday as Biden works to secure his support for the spending plan. Manchin, whose vote is essential in getting the bill passed, is expressing serious concerns over the structure of the package, including inflation and relying on temporary programs.
“Senator Manchin and President Biden had a productive conversation this afternoon. They will continue to talk over the coming days,” a spokesperson for the senator said late Monday.
Manchin’s concerns suggest the bill will need to be seriously changed for him to consider passing it, putting Schumer’s self-imposed Christmas deadline in doubt. If serious changes to the bill are made, it could take weeks or even months to put together a final package to vote on.
The West Virginia Democrat placed blame on members of his own party for how they are structuring the legislation, which he says will make temporary spending become permanent.
“I don’t think that’s a fair evaluation of saying we are going to spend X amount of dollars but then we are going to have to depend on coming back and finding more money … I’m concerned about paying down debt too,” he told CNN.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said the talks between Biden and Manchin will continue in the coming days as the details are still working on being hammered out.
“The President and Senator Manchin had a good, constructive phone call and agreed to follow up with one another in the coming days,” the statement read.
The CBO released a score on Friday, detailing if Democrats stick to the current provision, it would raise the deficit by $3 trillion. However, the White House indicated Monday Biden does not share the same concerns as Manchin.
“We will be making the case for why the president feels this legislation should move forward,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
This story has been updated with additional information.