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Progressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC

Progressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC
© Greg Nash

Progressives are targeting moderate Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 'Just say no' just won't work for Senate Republicans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (D-W.Va) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSinema, Romney propose bill to tackle student loan debt House committee approves DC statehood bill Romney, Sinema teaming up on proposal to raise minimum wage MORE (D-Ariz.) as liberals express frustration with the pair over their reluctance to scrap the filibuster and opposition to other demands from the left.

Saikat Chakrabarti, Corbin Trent and Zack Exley, all of whom played a role in launching Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records Ocasio-Cortez says she disagrees with holding up infrastructure over SALT Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE’s (D-N.Y.) campaign in 2018, founded No Excuses PAC to try to find primary challengers for Manchin and Sinema. 

“In 2018, we helped elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress and launched the Green New Deal. Now we are launching a new campaign to replace conservative Democrats in the Senate who stand in the way of progress. It’s called No Excuses, and we need your help immediately to run ads telling Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that they will be primaried and replaced in 2024 if they join with Republicans to shrink their own party’s pandemic, climate, and economic plans,” they wrote in an email to supporters. 

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While progressives have railed against other centrists in both chambers of Congress, Manchin and Sinema drew fierce ire from the Democratic Party’s left flank when they stood up against efforts to scrap the filibuster, which requires that most legislation in the Senate garner 60 votes to pass.

While the two cast their effort as a move to maintain bipartisanship in the Senate, liberals berated them as aides to Republican attempts to obstruct their priorities from being passed through Congress.

“Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have both pledged to help Republicans to negotiate their own party down from real solutions to half measures in the name of 'bipartisanship.' Bipartisanship is a great idea--one Republicans have refused to honor for decades,” the email solicitation from No Excuses PAC read. 

“Finally, we have a Democratic president and Congressional leadership who are not falling for it. Now the only thing stopping them from taking the fall again, in a 50/50 Senate, are Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.”

Manchin and Sinema’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding the formation of the PAC, which was first reported by Politico.

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While in its nascent stage, the PAC appears set to cast itself as a Senate version of Justice Democrats, the progressive group that has focused on primarying moderate lawmakers and knocked off powerhouses like former Reps. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelNY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney Carolyn Maloney will face Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority MORE (N.Y.) and Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy Clay Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Progressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC Cori Bush dismisses concerns of being 'co-opted' by establishment MORE (Mo.) in primaries.

However, Justice Democrats and other groups have failed to defeat any Democrats in primaries in swing or conservative House districts, and Manchin and Sinema represent red and purple states.

Manchin is considered by many to possibly be the only game in town for Democrats in West Virginia, one of the reddest states in the country. And while Arizona is a purple state, it is unclear if it is liberal enough for a progressive to catch fire there.