The language in a proposed $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus stimulus bill presented this week is "much different" when it comes to $160 billion planned for state and local governments, as lawmakers behind the effort "are not making the mistakes of the past," Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the leaders behind the bill, said Wednesday.
"Mitt Romney and all my friends, Bill Cassidy and myself, Susan Collins, we are committed to making sure there's accountability," the West Virginia Democrat said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends."
The relief bill would fund measures through March 31 that includes $228 billion in additional paycheck protection program funds for businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Romney, R-Utah, said the plan contains $560 billion in repurposed funding from the March CARES Act.
Manchin said the deal was proposed because Congress had been in a stalemate while the nation is in its worst phase of the pandemic since it began earlier this year.
"People that are losing everything as far as benefits are running out," said Manchin. "There are more shutdowns ... so much that needs assistance here."
Manchin said there are people on both sides who agree that the plan is "acceptable and can be passed," but the leadership of the House and Senate needs to get on board, as "some want less and some want more."
But the nation needs help now because the "next quarter is going to be tough," said Manchin. "We can come together and see what they need."
Manchin on Wednesday also responded to criticism from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and the punches that have been thrown about the Democrat Party's direction.
"I don’t have any disrespect for the congresswoman, we just differ," Manchin said. "My people in West Virginia expect me to represent them in a rational and responsible civil manner, in a bipartisan independent manner and I do that to the best of my ability, so I don't begrudge whatever she does."
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