- Some Senate Democrats want to put Manchin on the spot about Biden’s $2 trillion bill.
- “It comes a time we’ve got to say.. it’s time to put up or shut up,” Sen. Richard Durbin said.
- But pressuring Manchin in a high-stakes vote could blow up in Democrats’ faces.
Some Senate Democrats are growing frustrated that Sen. Joe Manchin has not given their $2 trillion social climate and spending bill a green-light — and they’re ready to put him on the spot before the holidays.
“Many people will sit on the fence as long as possible,” Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Democrat in the upper chamber, told reporters on Tuesday. “It comes a time we’ve got to say, ‘All right, we’ve done the negotiating. We’ve made the accommodations, it’s time to put up or shut up.'”
The remarks are a clear reference to Manchin, who seems to be the only Senate Democrat who still hasn’t thrown his support behind Biden’s big spending bill. All 50 Senate Democrats must give it a thumbs-up for it to clear the 50-50 chamber, given strong GOP opposition. Senate Democrats are scrambling to iron out remaining disagreements and put it to a vote before their self-imposed Christmas deadline — only 11 days away.
Manchin has waffled on the bill and declined to state whether he’d vote for it. Instead, he’s raised concern about inflation, the price tag of the package, and whether the US can afford another burst of government spending on top of federal pandemic aid.
“Anything is possible,” he told reporters on Monday on whether passing it by Christmas was feasible. Biden spoke with Manchin that same day, and the pair are set to speak more in the coming days.
Final passage of the plan still seems far off. Democrats are still fighting on the state and local tax deduction (known as SALT), Medicare expansion, certain climate change provisions and immigration as well. They’re racing to avert a sudden lapse in President Joe Biden’s monthly child tax credit.
Still, such a high-stakes maneuver from Democrats to pressure Manchin may blow up in their face. It’s possible the West Virginia Democrat could vote to kick off a marathon series of amendment votes — and join Republicans to modify large chunks of the bill before the Senate ultimately votes on it.
“Nightmare for Ds isn’t that Manchin shoots down the motion to proceed, it’s that he allows debate to begin and then sides with Rs on amendments that alter the product in ways they have zero control over,” Republican lobbyist Liam Donovan wrote on Twitter. “Not a great plan.”