Slashing Biden’s spending bill to $1.5 trillion would mean 2 million fewer jobs each year, according to progressive economic think tank

Sen. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema
Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Cutting Democrats’ spending bill to $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion could mean millions of fewer jobs each year.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin has said he will not support a reconciliation bill more than $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion.
  • Democrats need all 50 senators to support the bill in order for it to pass.

As Democrats continue to squabble over the final cost of President Joe Biden’s massive spending bill, new research shows the ultimate price tag will play a long-lasting role in US employment numbers.

Slashing the proposed $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion package to $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion – a figure centrist Sen. Joe Manchin has repeatedly demanded – would result in nearly 2 million fewer jobs per year, according to Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank.

EPI visiting economist Adam S. Hersh determined that acquiescing to Manchin’s demands would have a significant impact on his home state of West Virginia, in addition to the country as a whole.

West Virginia would see 9,880 fewer jobs under Manchin’s proposed $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion bill, according to Hersh, which constitutes 1.33% of the state’s total employment. Cuts to the spending would mean 900 fewer manufacturing jobs, 400 fewer construction jobs, and 3,800 fewer health care and social assistance jobs, the institute said.

Constituents of the other Democratic holdout, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, would also feel the effects of a cheaper bill.

Arizona would see 35,564 fewer jobs each year, equaling 1.17% of the state’s overall employment, according to Hersh. The cuts would mean 2,500 fewer manufacturing jobs, 1,600 fewer construction jobs, and 11,400 fewer health care and social assistance jobs, the institute said.

While Sinema hasn’t publicly demanded a $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion price tag, she has objected to the $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion figure that Biden and progressive Democrats originally touted.

Democrats need all 50 senators to support the bill in order for it to pass.

“Further reducing the scale and scope of the budget reconciliation package unequivocally means the legislation will support far fewer jobs and deliver fewer benefits to lift up working families and boost the economy as a whole,” Hersh said in a press release.

“Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s efforts to scale back Build Back Better can only leave working families worse off and America’s economy less resilient to the challenges we face now and in the future,” he added.

A previous EPI report estimated that the Build Back Better legislation combined with Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill would support more than 4 million jobs each year. But cutting the package to $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion means a loss of 1.9 million of those hypothetical jobs.

Hersh’s analysis assumed a proportional cut across all the bill’s proposed initiatives, as total cuts to specific programs Manchin has opposed would still mean a final bill costing more than $US1.5 ($AU2) trillion.