Manchin rejects Pelosi’s call for deal on economic package

Ahead of key Thursday vote
Originally Published: 29 SEP 21 12:26 ET

(CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats need to have legislative text on the larger Build Back Better Act agreed to by the White House to assure progressives ahead of a Thursday vote on a separate bipartisan infrastructure bill, though moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN “that won’t happen.”

The back-and-forth between high-profile Democrats highlights the dilemma facing negotiators trying to nail down an agreement ahead of a self-imposed deadline Thursday. Moderates want a House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by the end of the month, but progressives have maintained they’ll vote against the plan unless there’s an agreement over the broader economic agenda plan known as the Build Back Better Act.

“I think we come to a place where we have agreement in legislative language — not just principles — in legislative language that the president supports. It has to meet his standard … then I think we will come together,” Pelosi told reporters after a caucus meeting when asked about progressives’ threat to sink the infrastructure bill.

But Manchin and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have criticized the $3.5 trillion price tag on the economic agenda bill, as well as individual components including specific efforts to address climate change and corporate tax increases. Manchin and Sinema have been engaged with the White House over negotiations over the bill all week, and support from all 50 members of the Democratic caucus will be needed to advance the bill.

In response to Pelosi’s comments, Manchin told CNN “that won’t happen.”

“No one has been negotiating along those lines with the other parties here,” he said.

He added, “What we — all we need to do is pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, sit down, and start negotiating in good faith. That’s it.”

Pelosi, who can only afford to lose three Democratic votes in the House for legislation to still pass, didn’t rule out delaying the Thursday vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill but said Democrats are moving ahead.

Pelosi said earlier this week she won’t bring the bill up for a vote without enough support to pass. After Manchin’s comments, she said she has the authority to delay Thursday’s vote. Progressives have said they have enough Democrats to block the bipartisan infrastructure bill from advancing should the vote go ahead Thursday.

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