Poll: Americans favor Manchin’s “strategic pause” on Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan

Data: No Labels; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Six in 10 Americans favor the call by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for a “strategic pause” on Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan, according to new polling by the bipartisan policy group No Labels shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The survey of 974 registered voters, conducted Tuesday, is the latest flash point in the fight over infrastructure — and how aggressively Democrats should move on a budget reconciliation package to allow them to enact key planks of President Biden’s agenda without a single GOP vote.

By the numbers: In suburban areas, which are crucial to Democrat’s hope to retain the House in 2022, the poll found 64% support the pause while 36% oppose it.

The poll revealed stark partisan differences, with Republicans supporting Manchin’s position by a 78% to 22% margin and Democrats opposing him, 48%-52%. Independents were split, backing Manchin 52% to 48%In rural areas, seven in 10 respondents supported Manchin.

Between the lines: No Labels has been running ads on national cable TV pushing for a separate, bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that passed the Senate to also clear the House and be signed into law as quickly as possible.

Flashback: Manchin put the brakes on the $3.5 trillion plan with a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week, demanding a “strategic pause.” He cited inflation and a need to preserve fiscal headspace for any additional COVID-19 permutations.

Axios on Tuesday reported that Manchin privately opposes many of the policy proposals driving that budget and is unlikely to support anything higher $1.5 trillion.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have shrugged off Manchin’s call to slow down on the $3.5 trillion bill. President Biden told reporters on Tuesday night at the White House that when it comes to Manchin, “Joe at the end has always been there.”

What’s next: The fight over Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package begins for real on Capitol Hill at 10 a.m. with committee markups.

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