Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE (D-W.Va.) met separately Monday with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal MORE (I-Vt.) and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill MORE (D-Wash.) as liberals and centrists in the party struggle to cut a deal on President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE's sweeping spending plan.
The meetings — he met first with Jayapal and then later with Sanders — come as the two leading progressives have grown increasingly frustrated with Manchin, a key holdout on the social spending bill that is still being negotiated.
A source familiar confirmed the meeting between Manchin and Jayapal, while Sanders and Manchin, leaving the Capitol on Monday night, told reporters that they had also met.
And while Sanders and Manchin have spent days in a high-profile battle over the spending legislation, which is the centerpiece of Biden's legislative agenda, the two men were on friendly terms as they left the Capitol and paused for a photo outside while surrounded by a gaggle of reporters.
Manchin, chatting with reporters, appeared to notice Sanders heading to a nearby car.
"Get a picture. You want to get a picture of us?" Manchin told photographers as he and Sanders ran back into each other.
They quickly obliged.
Well, this just happened outside the US Capitol: pic.twitter.com/A08M8eBsd8— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 18, 2021
Bernie says he met one on one with Manchin today.— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) October 18, 2021
“We talked and we plan to continue to talk,” he told reporters
Manchin then walked over and they both posed for a picture pic.twitter.com/WzwP72HQ7J
"We're talking," Manchin said as he wrapped an arm around Sanders.
Sanders echoed that, telling reporters that "we're talking" and that he's optimistic congressional Democrats and the White House would be able to work out an agreement on the social spending bill.
"I would hope that we're going to see some real action within the next week or so," Sanders told reporters. "We discussed the way forward."
As Manchin and Sanders broke apart to go to their respective cars, Manchin called out, "Never give up, Bernie."
The scheduled meeting between Sanders and Manchin, followed by the impromptu one outside the Capitol, comes as the two men have been trading shots at each other.
After Manchin convened a brief press conference earlier this month to reiterate that his top-line figure for the spending bill was $1.5 trillion, Sanders convened two press conferences within days where he urged Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBiden should seek some ideological diversity Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin MORE (D-Ariz.) to be more specific about what they wanted.
Sanders also published an op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper over the weekend touting the benefits of a $3.5 trillion bill, which Manchin has said he can't support, and saying that “two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin.”
Manchin issued a fiery statement in response, calling Sanders an "out-of-stater."
A CNN reporter asked Sanders on Monday night if he apologized to Manchin for his op-ed during their closed-door meeting.
Sanders, who had been walking with a group of reporters, briefly came to a halt, before asking, "Did you apologize for the article you wrote?"
"Why would you ask me that?" he added.