Exchange between Manchin and Sanders gets tense in closed-door meeting on spending bill

Exchange between Manchin and Sanders gets tense in closed-door meeting on spending bill
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Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders had a tense exchange during a closed-door meeting about President Joe Biden's social spending plan on Wednesday, marking the latest flare-up between the pair of ideological opposites who are both members of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Manchin, a West Virginia centrist, and Sanders, a socialist from Vermont, have taken pains in recent days to put on a show of unity after weeks of barbs, as congressional Democrats try to agree to a framework for the bill by Friday, Axios reported.


But Manchin on Thursday used “a raised-fist goose egg” to tell his colleagues he is comfortable without passing any of the social spending plan, according to Axios.

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Sen. Jon Tester of Montana described the exchange as "a difference in opinion” between Manchin and Sanders, with Manchin telling the room, "I'm comfortable with nothing.”

“The truth is both of them are in different spots," Tester said.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware described it as “a vigorous, 10-minute discussion.”

Coons and Tester both recalled Sanders pushing for a higher price tag on the legislation, proposing $3.5 trillion or as high as $6 trillion. Those are wish list numbers by far-left liberal lawmakers that Manchin has made clear he opposes, noting his maximum price tag is $1.5 trillion.

Manchin reportedly told colleagues, “We shouldn't do it at all,” arguing the massive spending plan would contribute to inflation. He argued they should pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and “pause” the social spending bill.

Because no Republicans support the bill, Manchin is a linchpin vote in the evenly divided Senate, as Democratic leadership cannot pass the bill without his support.

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Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are the targets of a pressure campaign from progressive Democrats to support the legislation. Despite the tension, Manchin this week denied a report he was eyeing an exit from the Democratic Party to become an independent.

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Tags: News, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Democrats

Original Author: Kate Scanlon

Original Location: Exchange between Manchin and Sanders gets tense in closed-door meeting on spending bill

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