Inside the Manchin-Sanders feud that has left Democrats terrified of Biden’s agenda

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.

The previously unreported exchange underscores the grim reality for Democrats on Capitol Hill: Two men — Sanders and Manchin — are different trillions on their price tags, there are differing views on what policies are needed, exceeding the breadth of the new social programs in proposal and are vehemently opposed about a central pillar in the package: tackling climate change.

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.”

They differ sharply on strategy. Munchkin rebukes House Democrats for holding Bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which passed the Senate in August, while Sanders was instrumental in rallying the House Progressives to withdraw their support for that plan, unless moderates backed a larger social spending package.
Democrats say having two sign-offs on a package could be enough to win over moderate House Democrats – many of whom are taking their cues from Munchkin and San Kirsten Cinema of Arizona — and the progressive wing of the House, which largely fell behind Sanders’ running for president in 2020.
Far more congressional Democrats than Munchkin align themselves with Sanders’ views, so frustration is brewing about the West Virginia Democrats—both on their own. Refusing to feed the filibuster His reluctance to divulge much about his talks on raising the national debt limit and on a bigger economic package.

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.

why the senate no longer works

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.

How Democrats Can Undermine Their $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan

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.”

Munchkin is airing his differences directly with Biden, meeting with him behind closed doors on Thursday, and even writing his demands to Schumer in July, testing for several new social events. and is calling for “guardrails”, spending caps on existing programs and limited Corporate Tax Rate 25%.
Yet it is Sanders who is pushing for more detailed plans child tax credit, Universal Pre-K and tuition-free community college, as well as aggressive incentives aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, something that will have a direct impact on the coal industry in West Virginia.

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.


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