“Senator Manchin has been a straight shooter. You know exactly where he stands. I disagree with areas, but I respect that.”
So said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a leading House progressive, on Sunday. Indeed, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been up front from the start about what level of spending he can accept in a Democratic social spending bill. Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Schumer in July that he would support $1.5 trillion at most — but Schumer kept that information from Speaker Pelosi for two months.
President Biden and Pelosi are linking that one-party spending bill to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and they want both bills done by the end of the month. Pelosi has set a Halloween deadline for passage of the infrastructure bill, and Biden wants it done before he departs for Europe at the end of the week. A vote could come Wednesday or Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “With a series of deadlines approaching, President Biden’s increased involvement in talks over his sweeping social-policy agenda shows the line he is walking between being a pragmatic deal maker, with hopes of delivering tangible political wins, and his desire to enact transformative, long-term progressive policies.”
To that end, Biden met Sunday with both Manchin and Schumer. Politico says key differences remain, with Biden and party leaders “aiming to go as high as $2 trillion” while Manchin holds firm on a $1.5 trillion top line. But we’re closer than ever to getting infrastructure to the finish line.