The West Virginia Democrat said that he wouldn’t support the $3.5 trillion package “or anywhere near that level of additional spending” without further clarity on the economic impact of inflation and the national debt on current government programs.

He argued that the pause is necessary to evaluate the pandemic’s trajectory and examine inflation patterns. The op-ed comes as House and Senate Democrats are working through the August recess to finalize language for the social spending plan.

House progressives want to keep the Senate-passed infrastructure legislation and the social spending plan linked, but moderates have expressed doubts about the $3.5 trillion plan and want to focus on passing the $550 billion infrastructure bill at the end of the month.

Manchin voted to advance a framework for the social spending package last month, despite his public concerns. Democrats will need his vote to pass the social spending plan in the evenly split Senate.

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