Republicans are hoping that Manchin and Sinema will 'shave down' infrastructure spending: report

Republicans are hoping that Manchin and Sinema will 'shave down' infrastructure spending: report
Kyrsten Sinema in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

On August 10, the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package with the help of two centrist Democrats who worked closely with Republicans on the bill: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. What will happen to the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives remains to be seen, and Senate Democrats are still pushing a larger, more comprehensive budget reconciliation bill. Politico, meanwhile, is reporting that Senate Republicans are hoping that Manchin and Sinema will help them "shave down" infrastructure spending.

"Senate Republicans can't stop Democrats from spending as much as $3.5 trillion more on social priorities like climate change in the coming months," Politico's Burgess Everett explains in an article published on August 11. "Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema can, though, and the GOP lobbying effort is already underway. After 19 GOP senators boosted a bipartisan infrastructure plan past a filibuster and onto the House, Republicans are yearning for results from their cooperation with Manchin and Sinema's effort. Namely, they're hoping to persuade the senior Democratic senators from West Virginia and Arizona to buck their party and shave down the social spending bill by holding out their votes."

Everett adds, however, that "Republicans who speak frequently to" Manchin and Sinema are "realistic about their chances, acknowledging it's highly unlikely Sinema and Manchin would end up blocking their party's biggest priorities altogether."

"But Sinema is publicly uncomfortable with spending $3.5 trillion, and Manchin is noncommittal," Everett reports. "So, the GOP senses an opportunity."

One GOP senator who Manchin and Sinema have had a good relationship with is Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Conservative but not a far-right MAGA extremist, Collins told Politico, "Each of them is fiscally responsible and are people of courage. And so, I hope they will break on this enormous expansion of government."

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said of Manchin and Sinema, "I know, from talking to both of them, there are concerns about the size and about the various tax increases. Their vote is the whole enchilada. If they want to stop this thing, they can. And I hope they will use that power."

Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut is hoping that Manchin and Sinema won't, as Everett put it, "shave down" infrastructure spending too much.

Murphy told Politico, "I've heard (Manchin and Sinema's) concerns, and we've got to sit down and make the case as to why shirking on some of the commitments in the budget are going to be hurtful to the country."

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