Manchin and Sinema Imperil Biden Agenda Hours Before Vote

Manchin and Sinema Imperil Biden Agenda Hours Before Vote

Sens. (D-W.Va.) and (D-Ariz.) have a number in mind that progressives won’t like.

When it comes to the budget reconciliation bill, Manchin confirmed today that $1.5 trillion is his spending limit. The West Virginia Democrat told President Biden where he stood before making a public announcement. Sinema’s office followed up with a tweet, reiterating the budgeting concerns she shared with and last month.

The statements countered Democrats who claim they don’t know what Sinema and Manchin want in the negotiations over funding Biden’s sweeping agenda. Their demands starkly contrast with the $3.5 trillion price tag liberals want.

Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) attempted to relieve members of her caucus of their concerns ahead of the House’s planned vote, claiming that Democrats were still on track to succeed. When asked if Democrats would prevail today, her top deputy, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, only said “nope.”

The Hill has more on Manchin’s monetary concerns:

Manchin said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Schumer (D-N.Y.) in late July stating his commitment to not spending any more than $1.5 trillion on the budget reconciliation package.

“My top-line has been $1.5” trillion, he told reporters Thursday, explaining that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

He also told National Review that the Medicaid expansion that Democrats hope to add to the reconciliation bill must include the Hyde Amendment (prohibiting federal funding of abortion) or the legislation will be “dead on arrival.”

Manchin and Sinema certainly have the power to derail intraparty talks. Manchin, especially, knows he must be cognizant of the political realities of being an elected Democrat in a red state. Still, Bloomberg reports why moderates aren’t the only group worth watching as the drama unfolds:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s pushing ahead with a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill despite threats from progressive Democrats to sink the legislation without assurances the Senate will pass a more expansive tax and spending package as well.

Pelosi held a series of meetings with moderate and progressive lawmakers in an attempt to find some bridge between the two wings of the party and prevent President ’s agenda from getting stalled. But top progressives said they were unmoved.

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