- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Former President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that Sen. Joe Manchin III, a key Democratic swing vote, will “fold” when it comes time to vote on the White House’s $1.75 trillion social welfare bill.

Mr. Trump argued during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show that despite criticizing the mammoth bill, Mr. Manchin would line up with fellow Democrats to support it when the time came.

“Well, I know this: Joe will eventually fold,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s what I know. So Joe’s going to fold, and that’s going to be that.”

Mr. Manchin‘s office did not return requests for comment.

The former president’s comments come as Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer is pushing to hold a vote on the spending bill before lawmakers depart Washington for the Christmas holiday.

Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, is hoping to have the bill on the floor of the Senate as early as next week so debate can begin.

For that timeline to be met, Mr. Manchin‘s support will have to be assured since Democrats plan to pass the bill on a party-line vote via budget reconciliation. The process allows spending bills to pass the evenly split Senate by a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes usually needed to overcome a filibuster.

At the moment, Mr. Manchin is one of the lone holdouts on the bill. Earlier this week, the West Virginia lawmaker refused to say whether he would back the measure, while also warning that it could exacerbate inflation.

“The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at,” Mr. Manchin told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “We’ve gotta make sure we get this right. We just can’t continue to flood the market, as we’ve done.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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