Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was left with egg on her face Thursday when she had to call off an expected vote in the House on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill after negotiations on President Biden’s multi-trillion “Build Back Better” reconciliation bill hit a wall.
Turns out, she may have Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to blame for the setback.
With a razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress and deep internal divisions, Democrats did not have the votes to pass the infrastructure bill on its own, even though Pelosi had vowed that they were “on a path to win the vote.” But there would be no “winning” with the Congressional Progressive Caucus holding back support for the infrastructure bill unless Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package passed first through both chambers of Congress.
The key roadblock in the Senate comes down to two moderate Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), who are holding out on supporting the reconciliation bill. Manchin made it clear Thursday he would support a reconciliation plan for $1.5 trillion in spending, which means $2 trillion of left-wing goodies would have to be cut, putting him at serious odds with the radical progressive wing of the party.
But this is not a new development, according to Politico. The online political news site dropped a bit of a bombshell Thursday, reporting that Manchin proposed a deal to Schumer back in July, with the moderate West Virginia senator making it clear his top line on any reconciliation package would be $1.5 trillion. Manchin also stressed that negotiations should not begin before Oct. 1. (*The tweet below says “no later” than Oct. 1, but was corrected in a follow-up.)
A senate aide confirms authenticity of this document from July, reported by Politico – that Manchin proposed to Schumer a topline $1.5T reconciliation bill, with debate to begin no later than 10/1/2021. Says Manchin does not guarantee vote for reconciliation if it exceeds $1.5T pic.twitter.com/JMX7SXxXyS
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) September 30, 2021
“Senator Manchin does not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation if it exceeds the conditions outlined in this agreement,” the document declares in bold text. Both Manchin and Schumer signed the document, with the majority leader writing a note saying that he “will try to dissuade Joe on many of these.”
A Schumer spokesperson put a furious spin on the breaking news, telling Politico: “Leader Schumer never agreed to any of the conditions Sen. Manchin laid out; he merely acknowledged where Sen. Manchin was on the subject at the time. Sen. Manchin did not rule out voting for a reconciliation bill that exceeded the ideas he outlined, and Leader Schumer made clear that he would work to convince Sen. Manchin to support a final reconciliation bill — as he has doing been for weeks.”
As for Manchin, he’s not apologetic for taking the stance that “spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity,” which he said Wednesday.
“I wasn’t trying to be a fly in the ointment at all. I’ve never been. I’ve never been a liberal in any way shape or form,” Manchin said after the Politico story broke. “For them to get theirs, I guess elect more liberals. I’m not asking them to change. I’m willing to come from zero to $1.5” trillion.
Despite the two-month-old deal, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tried to criticize Manchin for being “all over the place,” with the former bartender accusing the senator of being “fundamentally unserious” in an interview with ABC.
A spokesman for Sinema also made it clear that the senator from Arizona has been upfront about her opposition to the unprecedented spending package that amounts to a radical left social welfare bill that includes many provisions of the Green New Deal.
“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. In August, she shared detailed concerns and priorities, including dollar figures, directly with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and the White House. Claims that the Senator has not detailed her views to President Biden and Senator Schumer are false,” said spokesman John LaBombard, according to Politico. “She continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions with both President Biden and Senator Schumer to find common ground.”
Social media was all over the development. Here’s a quick sampling of some of the responses from Twitter:
Schumer was lying for months. https://t.co/UVnTTXNO5D
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) September 30, 2021
Was half hoping this would be a rickroll. But it’s a $1.5T top line, lower corporate tax rate than currently proposed & a host of other demands. Manchin has also separately said the final bill cannot violate Hyde on taxpayer funding of abortion. Progs not going to like this. https://t.co/EsNKzjuhMZ
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2021
SCHUMER STABBED PELOSI IN THE BACK https://t.co/6QGAOdPchd
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) September 30, 2021
“Schumer never agreed to the paper he signed” is a pretty funny situation to be explaining. https://t.co/kZDtQ0LnkQ
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) September 30, 2021
and Schumer signed this! https://t.co/ERkqPmjPqO
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) September 30, 2021
Manchin didn’t care about the whisper and yelling campaigns against him because he had the receipt all along from the only person that mattered.
It’s all theater. The whole summer and fall of this was theater. Someday we will learn… https://t.co/svC9Rd2mAC
— Andrew Donaldson (@four4thefire) September 30, 2021
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