Joe Manchin Balks at Biden Infrastructure Plan, Suggests Two Separate Bills

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he supports two separate infrastructure bills rather than President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion proposal, making a distinction between "human" and "traditional" infrastructure definitions.

During a Sunday interview with CNN host Dana Bash, Manchin scoffed at the size of Biden's plan, but said he could get behind two separate bills: one for trains, planes and internet; and a second for medical, human-focused infrastructure.

He complimented Republicans for their $600 billion infrastructure proposal, which he said he is a "good start" because it's "more targeted," not just because it has a smaller price tag. Manchin said there should be a separate "human" infrastructure plan for items such as Biden's $400 billion in-home care plan, an item currently within the larger $1.9 trillion "omnibus" bill.

"I think they should be separated because once you start putting so much into one bill, which they call an omnibus bill, it makes it very, very difficult for the public to understand," Manchin said on State of the Union. "When you talk about infrastructure, they understand infrastructure. Internet is a new infrastructure that we didn't have before and it should be. But we're talking about transit, airports, the rail systems, the lines as far as our electricity, which is the grid system."

"The human infrastructure is something that we're very much concerned about. And when you think about all that we have done in the past year, and plus the COVID bill this year, the American Rescue Plan, an awful lot has been done there, too," the senator also said. "So we have to see what the effects of all that are."

The West Virginia Democrat, a key moderate vote in the Senate, said he wants to end discussion about filibusters and 51-vote reconciliation shortcuts. Rather, he seeks a return to old-school legislating in Congress where lawmakers from both parties are able to hack out larger bills in committees before sending it through a floor-vote amendment process.

"We won't give this system a chance to work," he continued. "I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or basically this democracy of ours or the Republic that we have."

Asked by Bash whether he's a "roadblock" to Biden's agenda, Manchin rebuked the question.

"I'm not a roadblock at all," Manchin insisted. "The best politics is good government. I can't believe that people believe that, 'if you just do it my way, that will give us the momentum to get through the next election.' But when you do something that everyone tags onto, and I've seen good things happen that people voted against it, took credit for when they went back on."

Newsweek reached out Manchin's office for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

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West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin said he supports two separate infrastructure bills rather than President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion proposal, making a distinction between "human" and "traditional" infrastructure definitions. Screenshot: | YouTube | CNN