Conservative group targets Tester, Sinema, Kelly
A conservative group is partnering with Republican governors to pressure Democratic senators to oppose President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
The Coalition to Protect American Workers, led by Marc Short, former chief of staff to then-Vice President Mike Pence, is hosting events in Arizona and Montana starting this week, according to a release first obtained by The Hill.
Democrats need all 50 senators in their party to back the plan for it to pass the Senate. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is seen as the key Democratic vote, but the new effort would appear to target Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.) and Jon Tester (Mont.).
The first event will take place on Thursday in Arizona with Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who is the head of the Republican Governors Association.
“The event will bring together business leaders in the community to discuss how President Biden’s economic policies have hampered their business growth,” the group said in the release.
The organization has another event planned at the start of 2022 in Montana with Gov. Greg Gianforte (R).
The events underscore efforts from conservatives to urge red state and purple state Democrats to buck the party and oppose Biden’s signature legislative initiative as negotiations continue in the Senate.
Kelly, who is up for reelection in 2022, and Sinema are broadly expected to back the Biden measure, though Sinema at times has been a difficult sell, and has taken part in numerous meetings with White House officials as they seek to win her support for the roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending bill.
Tester is up for reelection in 2024, and conservatives are working to persuade him not to support the Build Back Better legislation.
The events alongside governors is the latest bid from The Coalition to Protect American Workers to try to sway Democrats away from voting in favor of the bill. The group previously spent $800,000 on ads in West Virginia to express support for Manchin, who has voiced skepticism about the need to move forward with the bill amid concerns about inflation.
Biden and Manchin were scheduled to speak by phone on Monday about the spending bill and other matters. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has expressed optimism Democrats can pass the spending package by Christmas, but he would need all 50 members of the conference to support it for that to happen.
The Build Back Better plan, which already passed the House, includes spending on climate-friendly projects, child care and family care initiatives, education programs and other “human infrastructure” sectors.
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