In blow to Biden, Joe Manchin will not commit to backing $1.75 trillion spending bill

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) delivers remarks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. November 1, 2021.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda suffered a significant setback on Monday when moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced he would not yet support a $1.75 trillion framework unveiled late last week.

“While I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise, it’s obvious: compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress. It’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything,” Manchin told a news conference.

“Enough is enough. It’s time our elected leaders in Washington, all of us, stopped playing games with the needs of the American people in holding a critical infrastructure bill hostage.”

He portrayed the bill as being filled with “shell games” and “budget gimmicks” that would end up costing far more than its $1.75 trillion price tag.

The criticism was apparently aimed at progressive Democrats despite some significant concessions from them. The bill is half the $3.5 trillion price Biden initially proposed. Negotiators also have jettisoned some progressive priorities, including new paid family leave benefits and key climate control provisions.