Bernie Sanders has been calling for Joe Manchin's support of President Joe Biden's full agenda for several weeks. Manchin said on Friday that he was fed up with all of this.
Manchin responded to Sanders' op-ed published in Manchins hometown newspaper on Friday night. Manchin said: This isnt a first time that an out-of-stater tried to tell West Virginians the best, despite not having any relationship with our state.
Congress must be cautious about any new spending. I won't vote for reckless expansions of government programs. Manchin stated that no op ed by a self-declared Independent socialist will change this, shortly after Manchin's op ed was published. Sanders is technically an independent, but he caucuses alongside Democrats.
Sanders has made it clear that he is campaigning to pass the Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending plan to media outlets across the spectrum, including Fox News. Manchin has responded occasionally, but not in the same manner as he did Friday night. Manchin seems to have crossed the line in allowing Sanders to write an opinion piece in his backyard.
Sanders describes how his Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms would benefit West Virginia, which is historically poor but has many federal programs. Sanders also argues for climate action and paid leave expansion, as well as other programs that could be omitted if Manchin insists upon shrinking them.
Sanders specifically targets Manchin (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Kyrsten Silena (D-Ariz.), both of whom oppose the $3.5 Trillion number and are trying reduce it.
Every poll supports this legislation. The political problem is that we have 48 Democratic senators who are required to vote yes in a 50-50 Senate. Sanders wrote that two Democratic senators are still in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin.
According to aides from both offices, Sanders office published a Manchins draft after the op ed was submitted to paper. However, it wasn't published. Both senators are members of Majority Leader Chuck Schumers' leadership team. They come from opposite sides of the Democratic Caucus. Even when they disagree in public, they are diplomatic.
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Sanders started to press Sinema and Manchin last week to accelerate their slow negotiations on the final piece Biden's agenda. This includes education expansion and health care. After the two held dueling press conferences last week, Sanders made himself available to reporters last Friday in order to continue his leaning on Sinema and Manchin.
They disagree over how to finish Biden's agenda. This is a microcosm for the challenges Democrats face in getting all 50 senators to agree to the party-line budget reconciliation process. Manchin stated that he supports a $1.5 billion spending program and views it as a compromise. Sanders originally wanted $6 trillion and therefore sees his $3.5 trillion deal with Sen. Mark Warner (D.Va.) as a concession.
Both Sanders and Manchin have a lot of history. Sanders won West Virginia's Democratic primary in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, who was backed by Manchin. A year later, Sanders' wife was in the same race as Manchins primary opponent for his 2018 reelection.
Sanders now implores Manchin to not obstruct Biden's agenda. He believes that having only two senators who are unwilling to move forward is unsustainable and will undermine Biden.
Manchin has a different view. Schumer doesn't find it easy to achieve the unity he seeks to implement his agenda.
Millions of jobs are available, supply chains are stretched and inflation taxes are taking away workers' hard-earned wages. This is despite the fact that gasoline and grocery prices continue to rise. Senator Sanders' answer is to spend more money on an already hot economy, while 52 other Senators have serious concerns about this approach. Manchin stated that he agrees with Sinema as well as the 50 Senate Republicans.