Sinema joins Manchin in doubling down against $3.5T spending target

Centrist Democratic Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push Pelosi on addressing climate through reconciliation package: 'This is our moment' MORE (Ariz.) on Thursday joined Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push MORE (D-W.Va.) in doubling down on her opposition to passing a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package and revealed she shared her serious concerns about the agenda with Democratic leaders in August.

“Sen. Sinema said publicly more than two months ago, before Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter. “In August, she shared detailed concerns and priorities, including dollar figures, directly with Senate Majority Leader [Charles] Schumer and the White House.”

She issued her statement in response to fellow Democrats who said they had no idea what Sinema and Manchin were asking for in negotiations over the shape and size of a human infrastructure spending bill that is being crafted to move under special budget reconciliation rules. 

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“Claims that the senator has not detailed her views to President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE and Sen. Schumer are false,” she added. “While we do not negotiate through the press — because Sen. Sinema respects the integrity of those direct negotiations — she continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions with both President Biden and Sen. Schumer to find common ground.” 

She revealed her position publicly after Manchin, who has declined for months to tell reporters what he favored for a top-line spending number in the reconciliation package, announced that he would not support any bill that costs more than $1.5 trillion.

Manchin said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Schumer (D-N.Y.) in late July stating his commitment to not spending any more than $1.5 trillion on the budget reconciliation package.

“My top-line has been $1.5” trillion, he told reporters Thursday, explaining that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

Manchin also said that he had shared his figure with Biden.