Because once it does, the California Democrats suggested, it will almost certainly satisfy the liberal and liberal wings of the Democratic caucus, who have been grappling with the plan’s size, scope and details for months.
But according to multiple sources in the virtual meeting, Biden told progressive House Democrats he’s been into politics for a long time – and that putting them together in the same room would be almost like “murder.” The group laughed, as Biden himself made fun of Khanna getting into the boxing ring.
And increasingly, the feud has become public.
When asked about Manchin’s criticism of the economic package, Sanders recently told CNN: “I can’t speak for Mr. Manchin. I’m not a psychologist.”
For Democrats to pass the most far-reaching social policy bill since the New Deal, they must agree because all 50 senators in their caucus must be on board. and the public dispute between Sanders—a Vermont independent who is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and believes in a far-reaching federal government, and Manchin, a conservative West Virginian who has pushed back in recent times about a “entitlement society”. Has been — — has caused growing concern within the ranks.
“I think it’s a matter of getting them in the same room,” Sen. John Tester said on Thursday. Asked if he was concerned about their dissent, the Montana Democrat bluntly said: “Yes.”
Neither Munchkin nor Cinema addressed their caucuses during Thursday’s lunch meeting, where they talked about their plans to advance the Biden agenda.
And Democrats say that’s not unusual.
“Off the charts,” a Democratic senator told CNN Thursday that when asked about the caucus’s frustration with Manchin, several senators privately complained that the West Virginia Democrats were taking their public for “propaganda” reasons. takes a stand.
According to Democratic lawmakers who have spoken to him, Biden has expressed his displeasure at both Munchkin and the cinema himself. The president told progressives this week that he spent several hours with the two senators “and they don’t budge,” two sources said. Sources said Biden even said that Sinema did not always return calls from the White House.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the president’s personal comments.
But Sanders — who has pushed the $3.5 trillion proposal — and Manchin, who reiterated Wednesday that $1.5 trillion was their top line after flirting with more numbers in an exchange with CNN earlier this week, agreed. It seems difficult to do day by day.
On Wednesday, Sanders scheduled a last-minute news conference to go point-by-point through his concerns about Munchkin, who told reporters earlier in the day, “I don’t believe we need to be in our society.” should be turned into a entitled society. I think we should still remain a kind, rewarding society.”
Sanders later scolded Munchkin for using “vague phraseology”. He then escalated his criticism further.
“So my concern with Mr Manchin is not so much what his views are – I disagree with him – but that it is wrong, not really playing fair, that one or two people think he should be able to serve as a member of the Democratic caucus. Stop what the 48 members want, what the American people want, what the President of the United States wants,” Sanders said.
He added: “So, Sen. Munchkin has a right to fight for his point of view, not only a right to be heard, he has a right to make some compromises. He’s a member of the Senate. But two people don’t do what they want. And the President of the United States has the right to sabotage whatever he wants. To me, that’s wrong.”
Munchkin played down the brawl with Sanders on Thursday.
“We know each other,” Manchin told CNN when asked about his aide’s criticism. “I don’t take anything personal.”
However, few people have a clear understanding of how the two can settle their differences. While they converse face-to-face on the Senate floor, there are rarely meetings with only the two of them. Senators say they are both part of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s leadership team – and their disagreements often take place behind closed doors.
“I think it’s better to have leaders in the room with them, try to bridge their differences,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said after a caucus lunch Thursday.
Asked about leadership meetings, Durbin said: “In a polite and civilized manner, they disagree. But I think it’s constructive. This conversation should be for both of them.”
Democrats say they hope a settlement will be reached. But no one knows exactly how.
“I absolutely can’t say,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, when asked how to add the two on the package. “But I believe we will get through it.”
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Betsy Klein and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.