Capitol Hill has been consumed with drama over the refusal of Democrat Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) to support President Joe Biden’s ultra-partisan $3.5 trillion agenda spending bill.
Both senators responded to an uproar from the left Thursday by restating their reasonable objections, Breitbart reported.
Dems double down
House progressives have refused to consider a separate, smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes their $3.5 trillion bill, which is not possible without support from every single Democrat.
Reflecting the party’s priorities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reneged on a promise to moderates and dropped a vote on the infrastructure bill for a second time Thursday as progressives lashed out at Manchin and Sinema for holding up Biden’s agenda.
In a statement, Sinema said her views are nothing new and criticized leftists who complain that she hasn’t explained her criticisms, saying she won’t “negotiate through the press.”
“Senator Sinema said publicly more than two months ago, before Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion,” the statement said, as Breitbart reported.
Manchin similarly said that he won’t support a bill that costs more than $1.5 trillion and called on the left to “elect more liberals” if they want things to change, according to Axios.
“Manchin can’t wait”
While their opposition is certainly welcome, some commentators are warning against Republican complacency. Importantly, Sens. Manchin and Sinema have not said that they are against ramming a massive spending bill through unilaterally. They simply take issue with the current scope of Biden’s ambitions.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, David Bossie said the two “appear poised to be in favor of a yet to be determined dollar figure somewhere below $3.5 trillion” and accused the pair of “trying to paint themselves as moderate voices of reason in a sea of socialist insanity.”
Indeed, while it seems likely they will drive down the price of Biden’s bill, there is nothing to stop Biden’s agenda from passing as soon as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gets Manchin and Sinema on board with a bill that liberals in the House are satisfied with.
Similarly, former President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller warned that the controversy is “theater” distracting from the substance of Biden’s bill, noting that Schumer, in a signed agreement with Manchin earlier in the year, never saw $3.5 trillion as a do-or-die figure. “It’s all theater: Manchin can’t wait to play ‘hero,'” Miller wrote in a tweet.
No matter what happens with the reconciliation bill, Democrats have already succeeded in passing, with help from Republicans, more than $6 billion in aid for Afghan “refugees” as part of the continuing resolution to keep the government funded until Dec. 3.