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U.S. Senator Manchin slams Bernie Sanders in battle over Biden spending plan

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WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia slammed fellow lawmaker Bernie Sanders late Friday over his attempts to garner support for President Joe Biden's multi-trillion-dollar spending package in the latest example of infighting among key lawmakers over the plan.

Manchin tweeted out his concern over the scope of the legislation in response to an editorial from Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, advocating for it.

On Friday, West Virginia paper the Charleston Gazette-Mail published an editorial from Sanders urging support for the Democratic plan to address wealth inequity, soaring pharmaceutical costs, an increasingly expensive healthcare system and costly childcare.

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

"Senator Sanders' answer is to throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other Senators have grave concerns about this approach," Manchin said in a statement posted on Friday on Twitter, slamming Sanders as an "out-of-stater."

The bill is threatened by a lack of support among Senate Republicans and two Democratic moderates - Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. Sinema has told Democrats in the House of Representatives she will not vote for the package before Congress approves a separate, bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Sinema and Manchin have balked at the Biden plan's initial $3.5 trillion price tag for a spending measure to fund social programs and fight climate change. As a result, the president faces a difficult balancing act in trying to bring down the cost but not alienate progressive Democrats who also are essential to passing the legislation.

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Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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