Manchin opens door to deal in range of $1.9T to $2.2T

Centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Powell, Yellen face pressure on inflation Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  MORE (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday signaled he is open to a budget reconciliation bill in the ballpark of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion, above the limit he set just last week of $1.5 trillion.

Manchin and his fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBudowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE (D-Ariz.) are still far apart from liberals such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSymone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal Postal Service expansion into banking services misguided MORE (I-Vt.) who thought the upper chamber had a deal to spend $3.5 trillion on President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE’s human infrastructure package, but the two sides are inching closer.

“I’m not ruling anything out, but the bottom line is I want to make sure that we’re strategic and we do the right job and we don’t basically add more to the concerns we have right now,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday.

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It was a small departure from his position last week when he announced: “My top-line has been $1.5 [trillion].”

He also told reporters last week that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

Manchin’s comments last week sparked a backlash from progressives, though his Democratic Senate colleagues have been careful not to criticize him for fear of angering a key vote.

But while Manchin has signaled some flexibility on the top-line number, there are a number of significant disagreements still to resolve with fellow Democrats.

One major sticking point is his insistence that the reconciliation bill include the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds for abortion expenses.

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Warren has criticized the Hyde Amendment as disproportionately affecting low-income women since it prohibits Medicaid from funding abortion.

Another major difference is Manchin’s insistence that natural gas be eligible for grants under the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, a core component of the reconciliation bill’s attempt to combat climate change.

Environmentalists and congressional Democrats have slammed electricity production from natural gas without the use of carbon-capture technology as wholly unproductive to the goal of stopping global warming.

Manchin has also balked at a carbon tax, an idea being pushed hard by Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-R.I.), Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  Coons says White House could impose border fee for carbon-intensive products MORE (D-Del.) and other Democrats. The West Virginia senator is worried it could be used to eliminate jobs in the coal industry, which historically has been a major employer in his state.