Sen. Joe Manchin calls for up to $4 trillion in infrastructure spending as Democrats are poised to control Congress

Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to the press near the Senate subway following a vote in the Senate impeachment trial that acquitted President Donald Trump of all charges on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. After the House impeached Trump last year, the Senate voted today to acquit the President on two articles of impeachment as the trial concludes.
  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said lawmakers should support trillions in infrastructure spending on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
  • “The most important thing? Do infrastructure,” Manchin told Inside West Virginia Politics, a news program.
  • Biden has introduced a $US2 trillion plan to renew the nation’s infrastructure and said recently he would unveil a detailed proposal next month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called for up to $US4 trillion in infrastructure spending over the weekend as Democrats are on the verge of controlling Congress for at least the next two years.

“The most important thing? Do infrastructure. Spend $US2, $US3, $US4 trillion over a 10-year period on infrastructure,” he told Inside West Virginia Politics, a news program. “A lot of people have lost their jobs and those jobs aren’t coming back. They need a place to work.”

Manchin will likely wield large influence in a Senate which will be evenly divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats narrow control over the chamber.

Last year, Biden introduced a $US2 trillion plan to invest into clean energy and infrastructure. It includes provisions to expand public transportation, universal broadband, and boosted research and development spending for renewable sources of energy.

The president-elect emphasised the need to renew the nation’s infrastructure and said he would lay out a more detailed plan next month

“It’s time to stop talking about infrastructure and finally start building it,” he said in a Thursday evening address on the economy. “Millions of good-paying jobs that put Americans to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, and ports to make them more climate resilient, to make it faster, cheaper, and cleaner to transport American-made goods across our country and around the world.”

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $US1.9 trillion stimulus package, and it’s already starting to trigger Republican opposition. Many GOP lawmakers are opposed to additional federal spending, citing the swelling national debt.

However, many economists are calling for lawmakers to take advantage of the low cost of borrowing to finance pandemic-related aid programs and reduce the suffering caused by the pandemic.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the outgoing chair of the Senate Finance Committee, blasted the rescue plan as a “laundry list of liberal structural economic reforms” on Tuesday during a confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for treasury secretary.

One of the rescue plan’s main components include a $US1,400 boost to stimulus checks for most taxpayers, which would bring the total amount distributed since December to $US2,000 per individual.

Manchin also suggested in the Inside West Virginia Politics interview he could still support $US2,000 stimulus checks, though he wants to distribute them in a more targeted way.

The West Virginia Democrat expressed scepticism about the boosted federal payments in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month. He said they should be provided only to people in desperate need of government aid.

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