Democrats Split Over How Hard to Push Manchin With Social Spending Bill Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., reacts during a press conference as he talks about his position on President Joe Biden's sweeping economic agenda on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 15 December 2021 09:18 AM
Sen. Joe Manchin continues to pose a problem for fellow Democrats when it comes to President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate legislation, The Hill reported.
Party lawmakers are divided over how hard to push the West Virginia Democrat to vote on Biden’s bill before Christmas, The Hill said.
Some Democrats favor being aggressive with the moderate Manchin but others worry about killing the legislation by moving too hastily. Especially with rising inflation.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has been saying he wants to vote on the Build Back Better Act before Christmas. However, on Tuesday he declined to guarantee a vote next week.
"The bottom line is right now there are good discussions going on. As I said, we’re moving forward with progress," Schumer said Tuesday, according to The Hill. "The president’s been speaking with Sen. Manchin and I look forward to hearing about further progress."
Progressives are pushing Schumer to vote on the 2,400-page social spending and climate bill next week.
Manchin hasn’t said whether he will support the legislation and Democrats need every member of their Senate caucus to back the measure to pass it via reconciliation.
Progressive Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., want Manchin to vote on proceeding to the Build Back Better bill, even if he doesn’t commit to backing it.
"I just don’t think you can bring it to closure and finally close down the negotiation unless you have a date certain and a time to call the measure," Majority Whip Durbin told reporters, The Hill said.
"As soon as it gets anything near the green light from [the] parliamentarian, I think we should move quickly.
"It’s always a risk but you know it’s also my experience after 25 years in this place that many people will sit on the fence as long as possible. There comes a time when you’ve got to say, ‘Alright, we’ve done the negotiating, we’ve made the accommodations, it’s time to put up or shut up.’"
Warren agreed with Durbin and said, "We need to vote."
"We have talked and talked and talked. We all understand what the issues are, we know what the programs are, we know how to pay for it, it’s time to vote," Warren said, The Hill reported.
The vice-chair of the Senate Democratic conference, Warren added that she was frustrated progressives agreed to vote for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill with the expectation Manchin would support the Build Back Better bill.
Other Democrats, though, said it was no urgency to pass the bill before Christmas.
"I don’t know that that’s absolutely essential," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., The Hill reported. "I think what’s more important is what’s in it rather than the timeframe around."
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, predicted "it’s going to be very difficult" to get the bill wrapped up by before Dec. 25.