Joe Biden seems to be doing everything he can right now in order to convince Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV.
Biden hosted Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY (Manchin) today at his Delaware residence. Yes, Biden’s there once again — for the 25th time since taking office.
This may be one of the few times we’ve actually gotten a report on who he was meeting with in Delaware. Biden has not been allowed to give the White House visitor logs.
They’re trying to hash out their differences on the Build Back Better (BBB) social spending bill.
Democrats believe that they can reach an agreement with the President and both senators to develop legislation for climate action, education and child care. Manchin wants to keep his $1.5 billion number. The White House and Democratic leaders want it to be as high as $2 Trillion, after initially seeking $3.5 Trillion. The two sides will need to demonstrate some flexibility. A higher figure by Manchin could prevent a few programs being removed from the package.
What’s pretty astonishing is that Manchin has brought them completely to him. While he apparently hasn’t gone up yet and is sticking to $1.5 trillion, they’ve come down from $3.5 trillion to 2 trillion and, by some reports, as far down as $1.75 trillion.
Manchin hopes to be elected to $1.75t in order to get a deal for Medicare and/or paid time off
House Eyes WEDS Vote for BIF If They Can Get Deal By Then
-SALT : The cap will not be lifted for at least two years
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) October 24, 2021
They’re talking about possibly having a vote this week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this week, if they can come together on the numbers for the BBB bill.
Given that they are still haggling over the price tag, revenues and overall policies for the legislation, it’s almost impossible to envision Democrats passing it this month. But party leaders are hopeful that if they can land an agreement, it will offer enough specificity to progressives to encourage them to pass the $550 billion infrastructure bill before the Highway Trust Fund runs dry at the end of the month — and before Virginia’s gubernatorial election a couple days later.
But it’s not clear yet that they’re meeting some of Manchin’s substantive issues on the bill. And there’s also no indication that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has been satisfied yet, and if they’ve removed all the aspects of the bill with which she had issues. Sinema has issues as to some of the taxes they want to impose — and that’s a big obstacle. Meanwhile, notice she’s not there this weekend in Delaware, and there’s no word that she’s about to agree to anything. So Joe appears to be missing how he’s going to convince her.
There would still seem to be some difference, despite the fact that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they’re close. “I think we’re pretty much there now,” she said. “It’s just the language of it.” But that’s what she’s said before and that didn’t come off.
Manchin had made it very clear to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), earlier in the week that he would happily walk away from his meeting and just do nothing. “I’m comfortable with zero as a number,” Manchin told Bernie, making a zero with his fingers.
Sinema is also a front for others moderates, in both the Senate and the House who feel the same way but are less likely to speak out. So, that would also remain to be seen if you’d get all of them, even if Manchin and Sinema were to move.
So, they may be coming a little closer on a number, in the sense that they’re coming down to Manchin’s number, but it’s there’s still a lot to work out.