Sen. Manchin favors smaller infrastructure bill

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on Sunday said he opposes using a maneuver that would enable his party to pass U.S. President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal without Republican support.

The moderate West Virginia Democrat told CNN he favors a smaller and "more targeted" bill.

With the Senate chamber split 50-50 between Biden's party and rival Republicans, Democrats such as Manchin from conservative states hold the power to block the president's agenda.

Most legislation requires 60 votes to advance in the 100-seat Senate, but a process called "budget reconciliation" allows some bills to become law with a simple majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

That was how Democrats were able to realize a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package in the face of unified Republican opposition.

But Manchin said he opposes using reconciliation to pass Biden's proposed infrastructure package.

Biden's sweeping proposals in his infrastructure proposal also include $400 billion for in-home and community based care for the elderly and disabled as well as $100 billion for schools and child care facilities.

U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: "I think everyone acknowledges that we need significant increase in infrastructure. It's going to get down to what we call infrastructure."

REPUBLICAN SENATOR SHELLY MOORE CAPUTO: "This is the largest infrastructure investment that Republicans have come forward with."

But Republicans left out schools and eldercare in their trimmed-down $568 billion counteroffer introduced last week.

Manchin said that while more money is needed for health and child care, it was hard to build public support for a massive bill that goes beyond what he called "traditional" infrastructure needs.