Amid widespread opposition by Republicans, it appears that President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan is being held up by a member of his own party.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) confirmed this week that he is against the use of radical partisan tactics to push the massive spending plan through Congress, PJ Media reported.
Narrow Senate path
The Senate is evenly divided between the two parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote, which means every Democratic senator’s vote is vital in advancing legislation along party lines.
With the filibuster in place, 60 votes are needed to pass a bill instead of just a 51-vote majority. In other words, the White House would need to find 10 GOP senators to get on board with the proposal even with the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.
One way around that requirement, however, is a process known as reconciliation, which effectively lowers the threshold to a simple majority, meaning that Democrats would not need any GOP support so long as every member of their party voted in favor of a bill.
Democrats used that process to ram through a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan through the Senate without any Republican votes. Now, the party is threatening to use it again for an even more costly infrastructure proposal — particularly after the Senate parliamentarian gave the green light to go ahead.
“A critical tool”
On Wednesday, however, The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Manchin that indicated he would not support the move.
“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” the Democrat senator wrote. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues.”
Another option for Democrats would be a push to eliminate the filibuster, but Manchin has asserted that such a plan is also a nonstarter as far as he is concerned.
The West Virginia Democrat called the filibuster “a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government.”
For that reason, he insisted that there is “no circumstance” under which he would “vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
As it looks right now, the Biden administration’s latest massive legislative proposal is destined to fail if and when it reaches the Senate, which will come as good news for many Republicans and at least a few Democrats.