President Joe Biden signaled optimism Tuesday that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) would not block his radical entitlement spending bill, despite questioning the president’s plan for the government to spend additional trillions.
“Joe, at the end, has always been there. He’s always been with me,” Biden said to reporters at the White House after returning from a trip to New York and New Jersey.
Biden was asked by reporters about Manchin after the West Virginia senator published an op-ed last week calling for a “pause” in spending.
“A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic, and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not,” Manchin wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
The Senate is currently drafting a massive $2.3 trillion entitlement expansion disguised as an “infrastructure” bill.
Manchin’s comments have thrown into question whether Democrats can pass both the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and Biden’s more partisan $3.2 trillion bill in tandem, as the president has supported.
But Biden appeared confident he could work out a deal with Manchin.
“I think we can work something out and I look forward to speaking with him,” he said.
Manchin has long played the role of a senate moderate but typically votes with the Democrat party when needed.
The bill is expected to include free paid family leave, expanded free health care, expanded food stamp benefits, free child care, and free community college.