'The malpractice is stunning': Some Democrats believe Schumer seriously mishandled Senate negotiations

'The malpractice is stunning': Some Democrats believe Schumer seriously mishandled Senate negotiations

After Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced he would not support the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden suffered another disappointment when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced she opposes a filibuster exception for voting rights. Journalist Grayson Quay, in an article published by The Week on January 25, reports that some Democrats on Capitol Hill believe that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mishandled negotiations with both BBB and voting rights.

Drawing on reporting in Politico and Business Insider, Quay explains, “(Schumer’s) failure to reach a compromise with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to pass the Build Back Better bill and his decision to force a vote on President Biden's already doomed voting rights agenda, several Democratic staffers told Politico, highlighted divisions in the party at a time when Democrats are in danger of losing their already razor-thin majority…. Schumer turned Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) into scapegoats, staffers argued, subjecting his fellow Democrats (to) the ire that ought to have been directed toward Republicans.”

A senior House Democratic aide, presumably interviewed on condition of anonymity, told Politico, “Leadership 101 is even if you don't get someone today, you're going to need them tomorrow. The level of malpractice is stunning. BBB is a once-in-a-ten-year opportunity, and we fucked it up.”

According to Business Insider, Schumer has refused to rule out supporting possible primary challengers to Manchin and Sinema.

“Manchin represents a deeply conservative state and is far likelier to be replaced by a hard-right Republican than by a progressive Democrat,” Quay points out. “Sinema, who was censured by Arizona Democratic Party leadership over the weekend, became the first Democratic senator from Arizona since 1995 by running as a moderate. Politico points out that Schumer's willingness to consider turning on members of his own caucus stands in sharp contrast to the leadership styles of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).”

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