Democrats mull forcing Manchin’s hand on Biden’s $1.7T spending bill

Democrats mull forcing Manchin’s hand on Biden’s $1.7T spending bill
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Democratic lawmakers may have passed Biden's trillion-dollar infrastructure package but the spending bill still hangs in the balance. Like the infrastructure bill, the spending bill has also faced challenges due to Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) attempt to block or significantly alter the legislation.

Now, according to Politico, many Democratic lawmakers are considering forcing the centrist lawmaker's hand.

Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke out on Monday to express his intent on passing the legislation before the Christmas holiday, Manchin, per Politico, "said in an interview on Monday that it’s up to party leaders when the vote occurs."

"We heard that it had to pass as soon as we came back from the August break and then we had to do it before the president went over[seas],” Manchin said. “I've heard all these timetables.”

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With the latest proposed holiday deadline looming, even centrist Democratic lawmaker Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has privately signaled she will support passing the infrastructure bill, Politico reports. Other Democrats say a vote is crucial because "people have to face the reality of yes or no."

“My experience in this business is you have to bring it to a vote to finally see where you are. All this speculation notwithstanding, people have to face the reality of yes or no,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Manchin has had “more than enough time … there comes a point where the American people expect a result.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) also insisted that she’d prefer to “put it to a vote and let people know where people stand.”

While some lawmakers believe it will be beneficial to gamble with forcing Manchin's hand, others would prefer a more strategic approach with a guaranteed outcome.

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Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said, “I’d like to have a commitment amongst all 50 of us that we’re all going to stick together.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) agreed, saying, “What happens if it goes down? We can walk around and say we tried? That doesn’t really sell. There have to be conversations with Joe to make sure you’re not moving into a failure situation.”

So have Democrats made a collective decision regarding Manchin? Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) offered an answer to that question. “We have not made that decision yet,” Stabenow said, adding, “There’s a very, very strong push to [vote] before Christmas.”

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