Sen. Bernie Sanders, (D-VT) questions former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a hearing to examine her nomination to be Secretary of Energy on Capitol Hill, January 27, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via Reuters)
After passing with bipartisan support in the Senate, the Biden-backed $1 trillion infrastructure bill is in limbo, as Democrats in the House of Representatives have vowed not to advance it unless the Senate passes an accompanying $3.5 trillion social program through reconciliation.
The ultra progressive members of Congress, namely the “squad,” which includes Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), as well as chairman of the Senate budget committee Bernie Sanders (I., VT), have refused to budge on the two bills being a package deal. They say moderate Democrats, such as Senators Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and Kristen Sinema (D., Ariz), are standing in their way by opposing the gargantuan price tag of the social safety net expansion, which includes funding for healthcare, climate change, childcare, affordable housing, and education.
During an appearance on CNN Sunday, Sanders rebuked Manchin, who announced earlier in the day that he would be amenable to a reconciliation budget with a lower ceiling within the range of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, rather than $3.5 trillion as the Democrats desire. Manchin recently rejected the $3.5 trillion plan, citing concerns that such a massive injection of government spending could fuel persistent inflation, which has been increasing with each consecutive month.
The West Virginia lawmaker confirmed to CNN on Sunday that he will not vote for the $3.5 trillion bill, saying that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “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 and a lot of the help that we’ve put out there is still there and it’s going to run clear until next year, 2022, so what’s the urgency? What’s the urgency that we have? It’s not the same urgency that we had with the American Rescue Plan. We got that out the
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