Sen. Joe Manchin likely disappointed his fellow Democrats again on Sunday when he said unequivocally he can’t support his party’s gargantuan $3.5 trillion spending bill.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the West Virginia moderate suggested that his party put the brakes on the legislation and allow for more debate rather than race to pass it ahead of a Sept. 27 deadline because there is no “rush” to do so.
“We don’t have an urgency. Don’t you think we ought to debate a little more, talk about it, see what we got out there?” Manchin told host Chuck Todd.
Todd leaped in to suggest that Manchin could actually support the bill, but the Democratic senator corrected: “No, not $3.5 trillion.”
He also refuted Todd when the host said the spending bill is only for eight-to-10 years by noting correctly that when line items are funded for that long, they rarely, if ever, go away.
“I’m just saying we need to be looking at everything and we’re not,” Manchin, a former West Virginia governor, continued.
“We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting or someone’s going to fall through the cracks,” he added.
“I want to make sure that children are getting taken care of, that people are basically having an opportunity to go back to work,” he said.
“We have 11 million jobs that we haven’t filled, 8 million people still unemployed. Something’s not matching up there.”
Meanwhile, on CNN, Manchin told host Dana Bash that he doesn’t believe it’s possible, responsibly, to get the bill done and passed by the end of this month.
“There’s no way we can get this done by the 27th if we do our job,” he said, adding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York “will not have my vote, and Chuck knows that.”
Earlier, Manchin argued that his Democratic colleagues should slow down on the bill’s passage.
“If the country is facing what we’re facing now. … I would ask my colleagues and all of the Senate to hit the pause button on the $3.5 [trillion],” Manchin said during comments at a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce event.
“Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens. We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.”
“Hit the pause button as Americans. Hit the pause button,” he added.