Politics

Top House Democrat Says Pelosi Didn’t Know About Manchin’s Spending Limit, But Schumer Did

Screenshot via CNN

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was not aware that Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin pledged to vote for no more than $1.5 trillion in reconciliation spending, a top House Democrat said Friday on CNN.

“I think a lot of people wish they had known what is being dealt with,” Senior Whip and Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell told Brianna Keilar of Manchin’s signed agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Pelosi “did not know that. She had no knowledge of that until this week.”

Manchin has been sharply critical of some left-wing members of the Democratic Party, accusing them of “fiscal insanity” and “ignor[ing] the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces.” In response, Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said she “assume[s] he’s saying that the president is insane.”

Dingell described the name-calling as “not a useful thing.”

“I’m someone who has a long history of saying we should treat each other civilly, be working together bipartisanly,” she said.

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Manchin produced a one page document in July outlining his preferences for the Build Back Better Act, including a $1.5 trillion total cost and means-testing for new social programs. Manchin also proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 25%, and the top income tax rate to 39.6%. Schumer signed the document, and wrote that he would “try to change Joe [Biden] on some of these.”

However, “ten days ago, [Pelosi] thought she was working with an agreement that was $3.5″ trillion,” Dingell added. “Yesterday most of us heard for the first time the 1.5 number.”

Despite Pelosi’s lack of warning on Manchin’s topline number for the Build Back Better Act, Dingell expressed optimism about the intraparty negotiations. (RELATED: House Democrats Delay Infrastructure Vote After Talks Stall, Left-Wing Dems Reaffirm Vow To Sink It)

“I’m actually seeing people talk to each other, to listen to each other, to hear different perspectives, to legislating, and I think that that’s actually a good thing,” Dingell said of the negotiations. “I don’t believe we’ll leave here until we do get this figured out, where we come together and figure out how we’re going to deliver on helping build out an infrastructure so we can reduce carbon emissions, how do we get the lead out of pipes and all of the pipes in this country because we have children drinking lead all over.”