Congress Aims To Pass Reconciliation Bill By Month's End

Sen. Joe Manchin won't support $3.5 trillion budget.
Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 13, 2021

Senators are back to work after their August recess. And there’s no shortage of work to do. Starting with President Joe Biden's massive $3.5 trillion plan to "Build Back Better." 

The contentious budget reconciliation plan is President Biden's blueprint for social and environmental spending. It includes things like two years of free pre-K, free community college, expanded Medicare benefits and expanded tax credits for clean energy and electric vehicles. 

Democrats can't lose a single vote if they want to pass it. And they only have until the end of the month to do so. But West Virginia's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says there's no way they'll meet that deadline. He's vital to the bill's passage. He told ABC on Sunday that to get his support there will need to be some big cuts.

"He will not have my vote on $3.5 (trillion) and Chuck knows that, and we've talked about this. We've already put out $5.4 trillion and we've tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can," he said. "What's the urgency? What's the urgency that we have? It's not the same urgency that we have with American rescue plan."

President Biden argues the bill needs to pass now to fund recovery from hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes stretching from the West to the East Coast. And Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told CNN he won't even consider Manchin's proposal of $1.5 trillion instead. 

"No, it is absolutely not acceptable to me. I don't think it's acceptable for the president," said Sanders. "I believe we're going to all sit down and work together and come up with a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which deals with the enormously unmet needs of working families."