U.S. Senator Manchin, in threat to Biden agenda, opposes reconciliation process to pass legislation By Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said on Wednesday he is opposed to using a procedural process known as reconciliation to pass legislation without Republican support, dealing a potential blow to President Joe Biden’s chances of passing a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill.

“I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” Manchin said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. “Senate Democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our Republican colleagues on important national issues.”

Democrats relied on the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill in March with a simple majority in the Senate. They have been considering doing the same with Biden’s proposed infrastructure package.

Normally it would take 60 votes in the 100-person chamber to overcome a filibuster. Manchin from West Virginia is a moderate on some issues willing to cross party lines, so his support is crucial to any bill passing in the 50-50 Senate. Democrats control the chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

The Senate parliamentarian rule on Monday that Democrats could use reconciliation to pass more legislation this year, and Democrats were considering using the process to pass Biden’s investment package.

Biden wants to spend $2.3 trillion on roads and bridges, retrofitting homes, expanding broadband internet access, caring for the elderly, building up domestic manufacturers and building high-speed rail, a proposal that has run into stiff opposition from Republicans.

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