Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said he plans to move "full speed ahead" on President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill despite the pleas from Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, who has called for a strategic "pause" to it.
"We're moving full speed ahead," Schumer said, according to The Hill. "We want to keep going forward. We think getting this done is so important for the American people."
But in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the West Virginia's Democrat Senator Manchin writes that such spending could lead to inflation.
"Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding," Manchin states, "Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation. A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not."
But Manchin's call to marshal any resistance to the bill may not have come soon enough. Schumer, D-N.Y., has set a Sept. 15 deadline for congressional committees to finish their draft portions of the bill.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are working to take up the Senate-passed $1 trillion spending bill on Sept. 27. But the likelihood of the $3.5 trillion bill passing the Senate remains in question despite the mounting pressure from House progressives and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who have said they wouldn't pass the $1 trillion bill unless the $3.5 trillion bill passes the Senate.
But the $3.5 trillion measure would need at least 50 votes to pass, giving Manchin leverage.
So far, Manchin has not indicated how long his party should "pause." He has also taken issue with the bill's top-line figure of $3.5 trillion.
Manchin has said that he couldn't support that amount, and the most he would vote for is $1.5 trillion. But members of his staff have said the senator is open to $2 trillion.
Still, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has said, "That $3.5 trillion is already the result of a major, major compromise."
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