Joe Manchin Wanted $4 Trillion in Infrastructure Spending Eight Months Ago

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for up to $4 trillion in infrastructure spending over 10 years in January as the Democrats were poised to take control of Congress and the White House.

Manchin, who is considered a moderate or conservative Democrat, made the comments on the Inside West Virginia Politics news program a few days before President Joe Biden was sworn into office.

On Wednesday, Manchin issued a statement saying he couldn't support the proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure package, which Democrats had hoped to pass using the budget reconciliation process.

Manchin said at the time: "The most important thing? Do infrastructure. Spend $2, $3, $4 trillion over a 10-year period on infrastructure."

"A lot of people have lost their jobs and those jobs aren't coming back. They need a place to work," the senator said.

Manchin's remarks were reported by Business Insider on January 19 and some Twitter users highlighted the senator's previous comments after he came out in opposition to the Democrats' infrastructure bill.

That bill would spend $3.5 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure, including so-called "human infrastructure" such as childcare and measures on climate change.

Manchin announced on Wednesday that he couldn't support the bill, pointing to previous government spending.

"Every Member of Congress has a solemn duty to vote for what they believe is best for the country and the American people, not their party. Respectfully, as I have said for months, I can't support $3.5 trillion more in spending when we have already spent $5.4 trillion since last March," he said in a statement.

"At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question – how much is enough?"

"What I have made clear to the President and Democratic leaders is that spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can't even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity," the statement went on.

Manchin's opposition to the $3.5 trillion package may be the end of the road for the measure in the evenly divided Senate, where his vote is crucial for Democrats.

The senator's decision could also further imperil a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Though it has already been passed by the Senate, progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives have said they will oppose the bill unless it is linked to progress on the $3.5 trillion package.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bipartisan plan on Thursday. Manchin was a major figure in negotiating the plan, which was approved by the Senate in August with bipartisan support.

Newsweek has asked Senator Joe Manchin's office for comment.

Joe Manchin Arrives at the Capitol
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on September 27, 2021, in Washington, DC. Manchin has said he will oppose the Democrats' $3.5 trillion infrastructure package. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images