Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on Thursday that Democrats won’t reach an agreement on a wide-ranging social spending bill ”anytime soon,” despite ongoing negotiations within the party.
”This is not going to happen anytime soon, guys,” Manchin told reporters on Thursday. ”They’re trying to get a meeting of the minds.”
He went on to say that Democrats are making ”good progress” on a deal.
”There’s a lot of details,” Manchin said. ”Until you see the text and the fine print, it’s pretty hard to make final decisions.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Manchin both met with White House officials on Thursday, but Sinema told CNN’s Manu Raju, when asked if a deal would be reached by Friday, ”Don’t ask me. I can’t answer that question,” adding that ”I don’t negotiate in the press” when pushed.
Manchin added to Raju that ”everything is moving back and forth” when it comes to climate change, and said when asked if increasing revenue is the biggest hurdle that ”It’s hard money. Soft money should go to debt.”
Axios reports that in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Manchin and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had a heated argument over the spending plan.
According to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee, there was ”a difference of opinion” over the bill.
”Joe said, ‘I’m comfortable with nothing.’ Bernie said, ‘We need to do three-and-a-half [trillion dollars].’ The truth, is both of them are in different spots.”
Manchin reportedly added, ”I’m comfortable with zero.”
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, added that ”There was a vigorous, 10-minute discussion. Bernie said, ‘$6 trillion,”’ and Manchin ”said, ‘We shouldn’t do it at all,”’ and added that ”this will contribute to inflation. We’ve already passed the American Rescue Plan.
”We should just pass the infrastructure bill and, you know, pause for six months,” Manchin continued.
Despite this, Coons said that they made ”significant progress” in the sit-down, and that both parties have moved forward in ”figuring out which of our different committee chairs and caucus leaders have a role in getting those issues closed, and trying to get people to be direct.”