Nov 1, 2021
Joe Manchin Press Conference on Biden’s Infrastructure Plan: Transcript
Senator Joe Manchin gave a press conference on November 1 to discuss his position on Biden’s infrastructure agenda and the reconciliation bill. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Joe Manchin: (00:00)
And I’ve heard a lot of the mischaracterizations of my position since the president met with the House Democrats last Thursday. And I would like to make an attempt to clear up any confusion about where I stand on the legislation that’s working its way through Congress. In all of my years of public service and I’ve been around for a long time, I’ve never seen anything like this. The president of United States has addressed the House Democratic Caucus twice recently to urge action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which sometimes will refer to as the BIF bill.
Joe Manchin: (00:34)
Last week, the Speaker urged, Speaker Pelosi urged the importance of voting and passing the BIF bill before president took the world stage overseas and still no action. In my view, this is not how the United States Congress should operate or in my view has operated in the past. The political games have to stop. Twice now the House has balked at the opportunity to send the BIF legislation to the president. As you’ve heard, there are some House Democrats who say they can’t support this infrastructure package until they get my commitment on the reconciliation legislation. It is time to vote on the BIF bill up or down, and then go home and explain to your constituents the decision you made.
Joe Manchin: (01:18)
And I’ve always said, “If I can’t go home and explain it, I can’t can’t vote for it. And if I can, I will.” I’ve worked in good faith for three months for the past three months with President Biden, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and my colleagues on the reconciliation bill and I will continue to do so for the sake of the country or as a House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.
Joe Manchin: (01:48)
Throughout the last three months, I’ve been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $29 trillion in national debt that no one seems to really care about or even talk about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation. Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it’ll have on our national debt, our economy, and most importantly, all of our American people.
Joe Manchin: (02:24)
Every elected representative needs to know what they are voting for and the impact it has, not only on their constituents, but the entire country. That is why we must allow time for a complete transparency and analysis on the impact of changes to our tax code and energy and climate policies to ensure that our country is well-positioned to remain the superpower of the world, while we inspire the rest of the world towards a cleaner environment. And this all can be done. I for one won’t support a multi-trillion dollar bill without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects of inflation and debt that have on our economy and existing government programs.
Joe Manchin: (03:08)
For example, how can I in good conscience vote for a bill that proposes massive expansion to social programs when vital programs like Social Security and Medicare faces insolvency and benefits could start being reduced as soon as 2026 in Medicare and 2033 in Social Security? How does that make sense? And I don’t think it does. Meanwhile, elected leaders continue to ignore exploding inflation, that our national debt continues to grow and interest payments on the debt will start to rapidly increase when the Fed has to start raising interest rates to try to slow down this runaway inflation.
Joe Manchin: (03:45)
With the factors in mind and all of these factors that we’ve spoken about, I’ve worked in good faith for months with all of my colleagues to find a middle ground on a fiscally, and I repeat that, a fiscally responsible piece of legislation that fixes the flaws of the 2017 Trump tax bill that I thought was weighted far, far, too far for the high-end earners, and the needs of the American families and children. However, as more of the real details outline and the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budgets gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full-time has run out if you extended it permanently and that we haven’t even spoken about.
Joe Manchin: (04:37)
This is a recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever represent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is. While I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise, it’s obvious compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in Congress. It’s all or nothing and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything. Enough is enough. It’s time our elected leaders in Washington, all of us stop playing games with the needs of the American people and holding a critical infrastructure bill hostage.
Joe Manchin: (05:09)
While there’s opportunity in the reconciliation bill that we can all agree on and we’ve been talking about this for months. Again, to be clear, I will not support the reconciliation legislation without knowing how the bill will impact our debt and our economy and our country. And we won’t know that until we work through the texts. For the sake of our country, again, and I am urging all of my colleagues in the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It’s bipartisan. 69 votes. We worked on that for many, many months. And as I’ve said before, holding that bill hostage is not going to work to get my support of what you want. It’s what we should all agree on and work through the process.
Joe Manchin: (05:53)
I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward, but I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country. And I’ve been very clear about that also, and most importantly, hurts every American. Let’s work together and I mean that. Let’s all work together on getting a sensible reconciliation package, a package that really strengthens our nation and makes us better and leads the world. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:06:19].
Joe Manchin: (06:25)
Let me say one thing. I’m not going to negotiate in public on this because I’ve been dealing in good faith and I will continue to deal in good faith with all of my colleagues on both sides. It’s time to pass the bill and quit playing games.