Manchin says he’s ‘not a roadblock’ for Biden’s priorities as he pushes for slimmed-down infrastructure bill

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Jeremy Moorhead / CNN

(CNN) — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday that he’s not a “roadblock” for President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, even as he uses his key position in the Senate to push against some aspects of Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal.

“I’m not a roadblock at all,” Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked about those in his party who view him as a challenge to accomplishing some of the President’s agenda. Manchin wields significant influence in the Senate as a result of his party’s slim majority.

But as he sought to dismiss criticism from members of his party, Manchin told Bash that he supports a “more targeted” version of Biden’s roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan, flexing his potential veto power in the negotiations over the package. Biden’s proposal includes less traditional infrastructure items, like $400 billion to bolster caregiving for aging Americans and those with disabilities.

“I do think they should be separated,” Manchin said. “Because when you start putting so much into one bill, which we call an omnibus, it makes it very, very difficult for the public to understand.”

“The human infrastructure is something that we’re very much concerned about, and when you think about all that we have done in the last year and plus the Covid bill this year, the American Rescue Plan, an awful lot has been done there, too,” he added.

This story is breaking and will be updated.