Lawmakers start debating what to include in proposed $3.5T spending bill

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Debate is starting in the U.S. House on what could be the largest spending package in U.S. history.

House lawmakers spent much of the day Thursday deciding what will go into the proposed $3.5 trillion spending plan but, on day one, they’re already hitting roadblocks.

“It ain’t free. My children and your children are going to pay for this,” Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said.

Republicans – and some Democrats – are expressing concerns.

“I don’t think we can afford to do everything,” Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy said.

Rep. Murphy said she can’t support the current proposal because she hasn’t seen it and she thinks the process is moving too fast.

“I am trying to do the right thing here,” she said. “I don’t think it’s asking too much to want to see this bill in its entirety before voting on any part of it.”

Getting House and Senate Democrats on the same page will be a challenge. Right now, two Senate Democrats oppose the current price tag. That’s putting the entire plan into jeopardy.

“I think that Senator [Joe] Manchin in the Senate is slowing things up and that’s a good thing,” Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., said.

He said he believes Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, is right to block progress.

“We have an obligation to make the bill better,” Bilirakis said.

Despite the friction, Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott – who is overseeing the child care and higher education portion of the plan – said he believes Democrats will come together in the end to get President Joe Biden’s agenda passed.

“We’re working on it, and I believe they’ll get there,” Rep. Scott said.

House committees will continue crafting the bill next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes to have portions of the package finished by Sept. 15.

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