- Sen. Joe Manchin told Axios that he wanted bipartisan backing for Biden’s infrastructure bill.
- Manchin, a Democrat, said he’d oppose a bill without tax hikes and GOP support being sought.
- Manchin has emerged as a pivotal figure in an evenly split Senate.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, said in an interview with Axios broadcast Sunday that he’d block President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill if it didn’t attract Republican support.
Manchin said he also wanted the bill to contain tax hikes rather than rely on more government borrowing.
Manchin said he was opposed to passing bills using budget reconciliation, the mechanism used for the $US1.9 ($2) trillion relief bill that the Senate passed over the weekend.
Under reconciliation, only a simple majority is required to pass a bill. It bypasses the need to gain GOP support by preventing Republican senators from filibustering, which must be defeated with 60 votes.
The Senate is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris wielding the tiebreaking vote.
Discussing the infrastructure bill, Manchin told Axios, “I’m not going to do it through reconciliation.”
“I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start trying,” he added, referring to Senate Republicans.
Manchin said he trusted Biden to understand the importance of gaining bipartisan support for major legislation, citing Biden’s decades as a senator from Delaware.
Manchin also addressed reports that Democrats were considering using their control of Congress to scrap the filibuster.
“I would say this to my friends. You’ve got power … Don’t abuse it,” he told Axios. “And that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you throw the filibuster out.”