Manchin is the 50th key vote in the equally divided Senate, and he, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) And several other moderates are trying to see if a bipartisan approach can work in the upper chamber. He argues that the Senate agenda proves his position is relevant: a US competitiveness bill designed to boost domestic research and production could be passed as early as this week after the amendments.
Then there is a risk of conflicts over the January 6th commission, infrastructure, police reform, immigration and voting rights. Some say everyone needs some space.
He said if the talks between Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) fall apart, he will have a group of senators who could intervene. Manchin warned reporters of the dire view of talks.
“Met. We’ll get a bill. I think you’re basically trying to sow dissent,” said Manchin. “I think we’ll be good guys, I really do. I think we’re going the way.”
“If you make us believe it’s going to be blown up, it doesn’t take these guys much to start the blast.” Manchin added, pointing to the Capitol.
Manchins are confident of where things are but realistic when it comes to missing the Memorial Day deadline. He says, “There is no such thing as a magic date and time, there is no magic number.” He has no estimate of how much he would be willing to spend, but he repeats that Biden’s proposed corporate tax increase to 28 percent is no novice for him and would make the US less competitive.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Tuesday that his caucus would boost infrastructure in July, which would give Manchin Republicans and the Senate a little more time, even if the White House grows impatient.
Of course, Manchin also frustrates the liberals in his party, who want to end the fruitless infrastructure talks and submit another bill with 50 democratic votes. Senate budget chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Has signaled that he is preparing to pass a budget bill that could initiate the reconciliation process.
Some people seemed to challenge Sanders without moving forward: “If you think you have it, do it.” Given the small majority of Democrats, Sanders will need everyone on board.
“We have to find something sensible and I always look for that moderate, sensible center when you can,” said Manchin. “It might not be as big as you want and then you have people on the right who don’t want to do that much or nothing. I probably wouldn’t be there either.”
Marianne Levine contributed to this report.