And...the drama continues.
While speaking to the media during a Monday press conference he thought might clear things up, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urged his House colleagues to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill — which has been in congressional purgatory while Build Back Better negotiations play out — but did not explicitly endorse the latest version of Democrats' spending framework, a $1.75 trillion package proposed by the White House and President Biden last week.
Instead, Manchin told his colleagues that holding the infrastructure legislation "hostage" won't get him to support reconciliation without finalizing, reviewing, and "fully understanding" the text of the latter. In any event, "it is time to vote" on infrastructure, he said.
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Manchin said he has worked to find compromise with other lawmakers, but "it is obvious 'compromise' is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress." He also said he sees "shell games" and "budget gimmicks" in the $1.75 trillion framework that ultimately mispresent the total cost of the package to the American people.
"I'm open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward," Manchin said. "But I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country."
The senator did not take questions as he departed, but gave one last impassioned infrastructure plea to his House colleagues: "It's time to pass the bill and quit playing games."
Watch his full press conference below:
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