Politics Biden to meet with Sens. Manchin, Sinema as Democrats try to build support for $3.5 trillion bill
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 Joe Biden will meet with Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, two centrist Democrats skeptical of his $3.5 trillion economic plan.
- Biden will need both of the senators' votes to get the massive investment in the social safety net and climate change through Congress.
- Manchin has called for a pause in considering the bill and reportedly favors a $1.5 trillion price tag.
President Joe Biden will meet Wednesday with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as he tries to nudge the skeptical Democrats to back his sprawling $3.5 trillion economic plan.
Manchin, Sanders set for clash over Biden spending package
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are hurtling toward a showdown over President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan, as they draw red lines around their legislative priorities.The two veteran lawmakers are at opposite ends of the Senate Democratic caucus, with no close working relationship and some high-profile public splits in their past.But the White House and Democratic leaders will need to figure out a way to bring them together, and satisfy their contradictory demands, or suffer a massive defeat of the party's top goals."They really do mirror each other in terms of representing different ends of the Democratic coalition. ...
The president will speak separately to the centrists Manchin and Sinema, who represent West Virginia and Arizona, respectively. Both lawmakers have criticized the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag, and Manchin has called on party leaders to delay votes on the legislation.
The meetings come at a pivotal point for an agenda that Democrats hope will offer a lifeline to households and stymie Republican efforts to win control of Congress next year. Party leaders gave congressional committees a Wednesday deadline to write their portions of the bill, and they hope to send it to Biden's desk in the coming weeks.
Democrats have to navigate a political maze before they can pass what they call the biggest investment in the social safety net in decades. While the party does not need a GOP vote to approve the bill through budget reconciliation, a single Democratic defection can sink it in the Senate, giving Manchin and Sinema massive leverage to shape the plan.
Manchin lays out long list of demands as key Senate chairs move to win his vote
In the Senate, all roads lead to Joe Manchin. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) leaves a lunch with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on June 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. T The West Virginia Democrat and his staff have been engaged for weeks in intensive negotiations with the chairs of key Senate committees ahead of his party's release of a sprawling bill to expand the social safety net, laying down his demands on a wide-range of issues: health care, education, child care and taxes, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., can lose only three votes in her caucus and pass the legislation. She has to balance the often competing interests of centrists wary of $3.5 trillion in spending and progressives who see the sum as a minimum investment.
The plan's success has huge stakes for Biden, who has seen his approval ratings dip amid a chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a coronavirus resurgence fueled by the delta variant. The president has cast his economic plan as a jolt to the working class and an overdue effort to mitigate climate change.
"Yes, we face a crisis, but we face a crisis with an unprecedented opportunity to create good jobs of the future, to create industries of the future, to win the future, to save the planet," he said in Colorado on Tuesday.
The bill is set to expand child care and paid leave, create universal pre-K, make community college free and increase public health-care coverage. It would also encourage adoption of green energy and construction of energy efficient, weather-resilient infrastructure through tax credits and other incentives.
Where is #TheResistance now? Democrats should fear their base now more than ever
Democrats aren't in disarray — they are being held hostage by so-called centrists who are operational Republicans Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema | Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX.
To pay for the legislation, Democrats plan to hike taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals. Aproposed a top corporate tax rate of 26.5%, a top individual rate of 39.6% and a 3% surcharge on personal income above $5 million.
Comments from Manchin and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in recent days underscored the ideological gulf Democrats have to overcome to pass the plan. Manchin reportedly favors a bill that costs up to $1.5 trillion.
Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee chair, said Sunday that the price tag is "absolutely not acceptable to me" or Biden.
Asked Tuesday about Sanders' insistence that the bill will cost $3.5 trillion, Manchin told reporters, "God bless him is all I can say."
Joe Manchin Attacks AOC After Accusation He 'Huddles' With Oil Lobbyists .
The West Virginia senator accused his fellow Democrat of "just speculating and saying things" during a Sunday interview.Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democratic congresswoman who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, tweeted on September 2 that "Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called 'bipartisan' fossil fuel bills." Her post followed Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, arguing against a $3.5 trillion spending plan she favors in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.