Politics Biden to meet with Sinema, Manchin on Wednesday on $3.5T spending plan
Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants
The fight over Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending bill is reviving one of Washington's most perennial questions: What does Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) want? Manchin, who occupies the proverbial eye of the 50-50 Senate, is back in the spotlight amid a highly fraught debate over the heart of President Biden's legislative agenda. He's backchanneling with his colleagues, shadowboxing with progressives through the media and feeding GOP hopes that he'll scale down the bill. Manchin, for his part, says he's being clear in an effort to not catch anyone off guard.
President Biden will meet separately Wednesday with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to hear their concerns about Democrats' plans to pass a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, according to sources familiar with the plans.
The meetings will take place at the White House and show that Biden is becoming more personally involved after taking a relatively hands-off approach to the debate over the Democratic reconciliation package.
Sinema will meet with the president Wednesday morning, while Manchin will sit down with him later in the day.
Both moderate Democrats have balked at Democratic leaders' top-line spending target of $3.5 trillion, which would be paid for in part by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals earning more than $400,000 annually.
Some Democratic strategists have called for Biden to get more involved in the budget fight, especially given there are only a few weeks left until a soft deadline for getting the bill passed by the end of September.
Biden's $3.5 trillion economic plans could see big cuts as moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema doubles down in opposition to cost .
The plan could pave the way for Medicare's expansion, initiatives to combat the climate crisis, and set up tuition-free community college. "Proceedings in the U.S. House will have no impact on Kyrsten's views about what is best for our country - including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion," Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard told Politico.Her opposition could force Democrats to pursue big cuts to get Sinema's vote, a critical one in the 50-50 Senate.