Sanders says he’s ‘tired of talking’ about Manchin, Sinema

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Wednesday that he is “tired of talking about” Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), amid simmering frustrations within the party between progressives and centrists.

Sanders was asked during an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about how Democrats get around the opposition from the two moderates on changing the 60-vote legislative filibuster, a significant hurdle to voting rights and other key Democratic priorities.

“I’m tired of talking about Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema. We have got to do what we can to bring people together. The American people, I think, all over this country understand now is the time to act,” Sanders said.

Sanders also acknowledged that the party’s ability to enact its priorities was “constrained” by only holding 50 seats in the Senate.

“We need a hell of a lot more Democrats in the Senate than we have right now,” Sanders said.

The interview comes as progressives have grown increasingly frustrated at the slow pace of the party’s agenda in the Senate, where they need 10 Republican senators to pass most legislation.

Republicans blocked a sweeping bill to overhaul federal elections this week, sparking fierce Democratic fury. Sanders, in a statement, urged his party to nix the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

“Now is the time for majority rule in the Senate. We must end the filibuster, pass sweeping voting rights legislation, and protect our democracy,” Sanders said.

But to nix the legislative filibuster, Democrats need total unity from their caucus, something they don’t have.

Both Sinema and Manchin reiterated this week that they are deeply opposed to getting rid of the 60-vote threshold and several others are viewed as wary.

Meanwhile, progressives are also itching for Democrats to pull the plug on bipartisan infrastructure talks and go it alone.

Sanders has pitched going up to $6 trillion for a massive infrastructure package and floated paying for roughly half of it, though the figure has drawn pushback from other members of the caucus who need to sign off.

“All that I’m saying … it’s time to have a budget that speaks to the needs of American working families and the climate crisis that we face, that’s what I’m trying to do,” Sanders said on Wednesday.

But in order to kick-start reconciliation — the budget process that allows Democrats to bypass the 60-vote filibuster — Democrats need all 50 of their members to agree.

Manchin hasn’t said he’s formally a “yes” but appeared to open the door while talking with reporters on Tuesday.

“Now, the size of the bill or what’s going to be done — the scope of that, we’ve got to find out,” Manchin said.

“First of all, we should be looking at: What do we do that we think that keeps us competitive and make some changes in the tax code? Once you find out what makes you competitive in the tax code, then you’ll find out how much money you have to invest in this human infrastructure,” he added.

Tags Bernie Sanders budget reconciliation Filibuster Infrastructure Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema

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