White House tries to lock down deal with Manchin, Sinema

Sens. 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.) and 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.) met with White House officials for roughly two hours Wednesday as Democrats race to try to lock down a deal on their social spending package.

Cutting a deal with the two key moderates would give a big boost to 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 and Democratic leaders, who have struggled to break stalemates on key issues. 

Manchin, who told reporters earlier Wednesday that Democrats should “absolutely” have a deal by the end of the day, indicated that they now needed to get feedback from the other 48 members of the caucus, who are at odds with the two moderates on several key issues.


“It would be nice if it does,” Manchin said after the meeting, asked if a deal could come together today.

“It’s up to, you know, everybody; the caucus has to have their input. Everybody. There’s 50 people,” Manchin said.

Sinema added that negotiations were “doing great” and “making progress.”

Democrats and the White House are scrambling to get an agreement before Biden leaves for an international trip, with Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerProgressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan Collins says she supports legislation putting Roe v. Wade protections into law Biden should seek some ideological diversity MORE (D-N.Y.) saying that he was “hopeful” they could get a deal on a framework by the end of the day.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (D-Mont.), who was part of a bipartisan lunch Manchin and Sinema attended on Wednesday, said the two gave no indication that they had wrapped their negotiations with the White House.


“Not at all,” Tester said, asked if Manchin and Sinema indicated that they were done talking with the White House.

But Democrats are still trying to work out several details.

Manchin has said that his preferred top-line figure is $1.5 trillion, but Democrats are hoping to get him up to $1.75 trillion. That would be roughly halfway to the $2 trillion range floated by the White House.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Democrats push tax credits to bolster clean energy Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan MORE (D-Ore.) has proposed a “billionaires tax,” which would target unrealized assets.

But that’s sparked opposition from Manchin, and several other senators haven't yet bought in, including Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay MORE (D-Va.).


The fluid support could put pressure on Democrats to drop the provision from its package.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman 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.) fumed on Wednesday over the tax setbacks. 

“Every sensible revenue option seems to be destroyed. ... So it seems to me almost every sensible progressive revenue option that the president wants, that the American people want, that I want seems to be sabotaged,” he told reporters. 

Democrats are also still trying to get pared-down plans to expand Medicare and allow drug pricing negotiations into the bill. 

“I am working especially hard to strengthen Medicare and make prescription drugs more affordable. Sen. Sanders has worked hard to push for many of these Medicare provisions, and I support them,” Schumer said.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEx-officials voice deep concerns over new Pentagon UFO unit Paid leave advocates ramping up the pressure on Manchin and Schumer Gillibrand, bipartisan lawmakers push to keep military justice overhaul in NDAA MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that she is also still trying to get a paid leave program into the bill. 

“I'm working on the best, strongest, most robust plan I can with Joe Manchin, and hopefully he will accept my proposal, but I'm still working,” she said.