On Wednesday, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reportedly fought privately regarding President Biden’s social spending plan, with Manchin indicating how the amount of funding he was comfortable with: zero.
According to Axios, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), chairman of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee who was present at the meeting, Manchin stated, “I’m comfortable with nothing,” while Sanders claimed, “We need to do three-and-a-half [trillion dollars].”
Tester added that Manchin reiterated, “I’m comfortable with zero,” as he held up his thumb and index finger to form a circle.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) admitted, “There was a vigorous, 10-minute discussion. Bernie said, ‘$6 trillion.’” Coons said Manchin responded, “We shouldn’t do it at all.” Coons used Manchin’s supposed hand gesture, adding that Manchin said, “This will contribute to inflation. We’ve already passed the American Rescue Plan. We should just pass the infrastructure bill and, you know, pause for six months.”
On Thursday, Manchin reportedly said, “This is not gonna happen anytime soon guys.”
Manchin said he doesn't think Democrats will be able to strike a deal on the reconciliation bill by tomorrow.
Asked if it will take longer than tomorrow, Manchin says: "I believe so yes"
He adds: "This is not gonna happen anytime soon guys"
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) October 21, 2021
Sanders’ penchant for wildly spending other people’s money is a hallmark of his political career. On October 3, ABC News’ This Week’s Jon Karl prompted Sanders by asking, “So let me ask you about where the president is on this. As I understand it, he has now floated a $2 trillion top-line number on this broader bill. You are at $3.5 trillion. I remember you initially wanted closer to $6 trillion. Are you comfortable with the idea of cutting this down to about $2 trillion?”
Sanders, who has been making his living for decades as a politician funded by the populace, replied, “I think if anything, Jonathan, when we especially talk about the crisis of climate change, and the need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, the $6 trillion that I had originally proposed was probably too little, $3.5 trillion should be a minimum.”
In January 2020, when he was running for president, Sanders stated on CBS News that it was “impossible to predict” what the cost was of the estimated whopping $60 trillion in government programs he wanted. CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell said to him, “Your agenda has promised free health care for everybody, free college tuition, and to pay off people’s college loans. The price tag for that is estimated to be $60 trillion over ten years, correct?”
Sanders started, “Well, look, we have political opponents who come up –”
“You don’t know? You don’t know how much your plan costs?” O’Donnell pressed.
Sanders huffed, “You don’t know; nobody knows. This is impossible to predict.”
O’Donnell: “You’re going to propose a plan to the American people, and you’re not going to tell them how much it costs?”
“Of course I will,” Sanders claimed, then dodged, “Do you know exactly what health care costs will be – one minute – in the next ten years if we do nothing? It will be a lot more expensive than a Medicare for All single payer system.”