A clear majority of Americans — and nearly half of Democrats — agree with Sen. Joe Manchin III that his party is moving too fast to pass a $3.5 trillion spending bill and should take a “strategic pause,” according to a poll released Thursday.
Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, put a scare into his party leaders last week when he called for the pause on President Biden’s spending plan, saying they should stop and think through whether the tax increases in the bill would worsen inflation.
His stance was significant because the support of all 50 Senate Democrats is needed to pass the bill over unanimous Republican opposition.
It also proved popular with voters, according to the poll by the centrist Washington policy group No Labels.
The survey found that 60% of Americans want Democrats to pump the brakes on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion expansion of the social safety net.
While 52% of Democrats agreed that the nation “needs large-scale welfare spending now,” 48% also favor a “strategic pause to understand the implications of $3.5 trillion” in spending.
More than half of independents, 52%, also favored a pause, as did 78% of Republicans.
The poll also revealed an urban-rural divide. Only 30% of people in rural areas supported a spending spree, compared to 53% in urban areas.
The $3.5 trillion bill includes a liberal wish list of programs ranging from anti-poverty to climate change. It is the cornerstone of Mr. Biden‘s agenda.
The package includes, among other things, new federal benefits for tuition-free community college, subsidized childcare,12 weeks of paid family leave, and an expansion of Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing treatment.
The proposal being written in the House would also create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants such as “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. illegally as children and grew up as Americans.