Bernie Sanders calls Manchin's refusal to back $3.5 trillion spending plan 'absolutely not acceptable'
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reiterated Sunday that he will not vote for President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion infrastructure and social spending package, prompting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to call his decision "absolutely not acceptable."
The West Virginia Democrat suggested the price tag of the legislation should be lowered to around $1.5 trillion, raising concerns that "eight million people are still unemployed" and citing the national debt ceiling.
Independent Sen. Sanders completely rejected Manchin's suggestion that the price tag be lowered.
"I don’t think it’s acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic Caucus," he told CNN on Sunday.
"He will not have my vote on $3.5," Manchin said during a CNN interview when asked whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would have his vote. "And Chuck knows that. And we have talked about this. We have already put out $5.4 trillion. And we have tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can. And a lot of the help that we put out there is still there, and it's going to run clear until next year, 2022."
Sanders said he is open to allowing lawmakers more time to discuss the package but pushed back on Manchin's questioning of the "urgency" behind the spending package.
“But there is a sense of urgency," Sanders argued, later adding that Democrats initially petitioned for a $6 trillion bill before it was cut down to its current price tag.
"And a sense of urgency is that we live in a country today where the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well while working-class people are struggling all over this country in terms of healthcare. You got 90 million people uninsured or underinsured,” he said.
Manchin has called for the price of the bill to be lowered to $1.5 trillion, also stoking concerns about raising money with taxes and arguing that former President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts were “weighted to the wealthy.”
The framework has been projected to add more than $1.75 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.
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