Sen. Joe Manchin likely will force President Joe Biden to trim spending with his Build Back Better legislation, Axios reported Friday.
Although the House passed a nearly $2 trillion social spending and climate bill on Friday, Axios sources say the West Virginia Democrat is more inclined to wait, and watch how inflation plays out across the country.
Axios earlier this month first reported that sources said inflation woes might keep Manchin from giving his vote on the bill until next year.
"Historic inflation, taxes, and the lack of a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy policy pose a clear and present threat to American's economic and energy security that can no longer be ignored," Manchin said Tuesday after Biden announced that the Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels from the Strategic Oil Reserve in order to stave off rising gas prices.
Manchin, who represents a state that former President Donald Trump won by 39 points in 2020, has a number of differences with the House version of the spending bill.
He and fellow moderate Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., currently have great power within the Senate Democrat caucus due to the chamber being divided evenly along party lines.
Democrats need every Senate caucus member on board to pass the spending legislation via reconciliation, which requires a simple majority. Vice President Kamala Harris would provide the tiebreaking vote.
Axios said Manchin, a former governor, looks at legislation and asks three primary questions:
- Are proposed programs paid for?
- Do the programs have bipartisan support?
- Do the programs solve a specific problem facing West Virginia constituents?
Most West Virginia voters want Manchin to oppose Biden’s plan, according a recent MBE Research survey. The senator’s overall job approval rating was 61%, compared to Biden’s 33%.
Among Manchin's concerns with the House bill are the expanded child tax credit, paid family leave, and clean-energy tax incentives.
Manchin, Axios reported, has told colleagues that extending the expanded child tax credit is too expensive, and he’s not sure middle-class families need it.
He also would prefer to work with Republicans when it comes to a new entitlement program, such as paid family leave.
Manchin remains unconvinced clean-energy tax incentives will accelerate the changes in the fossil-fuel industry that are already happening.
Businesses and conservatives concerned about inflationary pressures and socialist spending programs are making campaign contributions to Manchin and Sinema, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Manchin's helping to shrink the Build Back Better plan from $3.5 trillion to around $2 trillion earned praise from Wall Street billionaire Kenneth Langone.
Langone had not previously contributed to Manchin, but he hailed the senator’s "guts and courage" and said he would throw "one of the biggest fundraisers I've ever had for him," the Times reported.
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