Kowtowing to progressives may have just caught up with President Joe Biden, according to a new report that says his $3.5 trillion grab bag of liberal programs could be in jeopardy.
Axios, citing sources it does not name, reported Thursday that despite a face-to-face meeting with Biden on Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is maintaining his position that the liberal spending bonanza is more than he can swallow.
Manchin, a moderate, has said that he would support spending at the level of $1.5 trillion, something the far left of the Democratic Party has ruled unacceptable.
According to the report, Biden warned the senator that a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Manchin, along with many Republicans, supports could be collateral damage from his opposition to the liberal spending spree.
Manchin’s opinion has outsized importance right now because of the balance in power in Washington. The Senate is split 50-50. Although Democrats are using a procedural tactic called budget reconciliation to push through the package of social programs despite the expected unanimous opposition of Republicans, if they lose one vote, their hopes of passage evaporate.
Further complicating the Democratic political equation is the stance of far-left House Democratic progressives who have said that if they cannot have their full package of social programs with the total undiluted, they will not support the infrastructure bill that has bipartisan support.
“Is it appropriate for one person to destroy two pieces of legislation?” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders said Sunday, according to The Washington Post.
“I think we’re going to work it out, but it would really be a terrible, terrible shame for the American people if both bills went down. And that is a real danger,” the Vermont senator said.
The public reaction of the White House to Manchin’s independence of mind was muted.
“Sen. Manchin is an important partner,” said Andrew Bates, deputy White House press secretary. “We do not discuss the contents of private meetings.”
The West Virginian is not the only Democrat who has balked at the $3.5 trillion figure. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has also said she thinks the price tag on the hodgepodge of social programs is too high.
Manchin’s past calls to slow down on the $3.5 trillion plan have been attacked by far-left Democrats.
Pause on finally delivering child care, paid leave, education, health care, affordable housing, climate action, and dental, vision, and hearing to millions of families across America?
Absolutely not. https://t.co/9Ec91f4Ee9
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 2, 2021
Fossil fuel corps & dark money is destroying our democracy, country, & planet.
All day our community has been pulling bodies out of homes from the flood. Entire families. And we’re supposed to entertain lobbyist talking points about why we should abandon people & do nothing? No.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 2, 2021
Hey Joe, these are the homes in my district after last night’s storm.
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) September 2, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the pressure on the two holdouts will only grow.
“I pray for Manchin and Sinema every night, give them a lot of love, wish them well and hope they can withstand the pressure,” the Kentucky Republican said, according to the Post. “I think they know this is the wrong thing to do for the country.”
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