Democrats are hellbent on passing Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar spending package.
They are pulling out all of the stops to pass their spending package, but they are hitting some major roadblocks with two senators.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are not budging on Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package, and Democrats can’t afford to lose any of their own members.
According to Politico, Manchin and Sinema had back-to-back meetings with Joe Biden and it apparently did not go well.
“During a private meeting with the president, Sinema made clear she’s still not on board with the party’s $3.5 trillion social spending plan and is hesitant to engage on some specifics until the bipartisan infrastructure package passes the House,” Politico reported.
“This is the third time she said she has told the president, ‘I’m not there,’” a person familiar with the talks between Sinema and Biden told Politico.
Sinema reportedly told Biden: “I’ve been very clear with you from the start.”
Sinema and Manchin’s approach to the negotiations has frozen Biden’s jobs and families plan and potentially may lead to a high-profile failure of a bipartisan infrastructure bill on the House floor as progressives threaten rebellion. But without more details from the moderate duo, any hope of a bicameral agreement on Biden’s agenda is a pipe dream.
Manchin and Sinema met with Biden separately Tuesday, the second time in less than a week that they paid a visit to the White House to lay out their concerns and haggle with the president over reducing Democrats’ plans to spend $3.5 trillion. Sinema also returned to the White House twice more to hash out details with staff as Manchin huddled separately with Biden for more than an hour.
Democrats are not happy about Manchin and Sinema refusing to cave to them on the bill.
“What I know is that the longer these debates hang out there the easier it is for the opposition to mislabel and twist what we’re trying to do. If we’re going to come to an agreement it would behoove us to do it sooner rather than later so that we can go out and start explaining it to people,” Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said.
“I’m worried my colleagues are going to shoot themselves in the foot. We should find a solid number and move on,” said one Senate Democrat, who spoke under condition of anonymity to Politico.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is also complaining: “We’re reaching a point where we need to bring this to closure. I think that’s obvious. We have four major challenges on us at once: Funding the government, dealing with the debt ceiling, bipartisan infrastructure bill, and reconciliation. That’s a big agenda. I think a breakthrough on one of those will help.”
Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal was a bit more forceful with her comments about Sinema and Manchin.
“They need to tell us what they don’t agree with. And we need to actually be able to negotiate,” she said.
Hawaii Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono issued a similar statement, saying she’s “still waiting” for Manchin and Sinema to offer specifics about what they want.
When asked if she was frustrated with the two of them, she replied: “Just a tad.”