Poll: Americans Back Sen. Manchin’s ‘Strategic Pause’ Call on $3.5T Spending Bill

Poll: Americans Back Sen. Manchin's 'Strategic Pause' Call on $3.5T Spending Bill Sen. Joe Manchin talks to reporters Sen. Joe Manchin talks to reporters as he leaves after a meeting with members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on July 15. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 09 September 2021 08:30 AM

A clear majority of Americans support Sen. Joe Manchin's call for a "strategic pause" on President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan, new polling shows.

Manchin, D-W.Va., last week cited inflation and possible additional COVID-19 mutations when he said "Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation," in a Wall Street Journal opinion column.

New polling by the bipartisan policy group No Labels showed that 78% of Republicans and 52% of independents support Manchin's suggestion, Axios reported Thursday. Democrats oppose the proposal 48%-52%.

In suburban areas, which are crucial for Democrats to retain the House in 2022, the poll found 64% support the pause and 36% oppose it.

The only other demographic besides Democrats that want large-scale welfare spending now is urban voters, who disagreed with Manchin 53%-47%.

A majority of the other demographics listed — rural voters (70%), voters with income above $75K (57%), income below $75K (62%), four years of college (57%), less than four years of college (62%) – all supported Manchin.

Committee markups over Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package begin Thursday morning.

Manchin privately opposes many of the policy proposals driving the larger spending plan and is unlikely to support anything higher than $1.5 trillion, Axios said.

Democrats need Manchin's vote to pass the $3.5 trillion measure via reconciliation in a Senate split 50-50 along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris would provide the tie-breaking vote.

Reconciliation is a way to enact legislation on taxes, spending, and the debt limit with only a majority. It avoids the threat of a filibuster, which requires 60 votes to overcome.

Biden told reporters Tuesday night that when it comes to Manchin, "Joe at the end has always been there."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday said he planned to move "full speed ahead" on the spending bill despite Manchin's pleas.

"We're moving full speed ahead," Schumer said, according to The Hill. "We want to keep going forward. We think getting this done is so important for the American people."

No Labels has been pushing for a separate, bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package to clear the House after already passing the Senate. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said the lower chamber won’t vote on the infrastructure bill before the spending bill.

The No Labels survey was conducted Tuesday among 974 registered voters.

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