The Democrats can’t do anything without him.
With the Senate majority hanging in the balance, Democrats are exhibiting their divisions on legislation as they try to lessen the blow.
Some Democrats have emphasized showing the contrast between Democrats and Republicans by bringing bills to the floor that have little chance of passing; others want to be more strategic with their time, and in the middle of the argument: Senators facing tough races.
Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona — a state Biden narrowly won — noted he’d rather focus attention on the “lots of needs of our country and the world” than “do stuff that a waste of time.”
The waste of time refers to so-called messaging bills that have almost no chance of passing without centrist Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) support.
It appears Democrats are still trying to court Manchin to get a few more legislative wins under their belts before the midterms. This time they’re focusing on a budget reconciliation that would only need a simple majority to pass.
But, according to remarks Manchin made to reporters after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday (April 26), he would only support a budget reconciliation if it focused on “getting inflation under control.”
Manchin’s comment follows his March proposal that combined tax code reform with proposals to combat climate change and lower prescription drug prices. The proposal funneled the money raised from tax and prescription drug reform to reducing the federal deficit.
But, just a day before, Manchin had met with some centrist Democrat colleagues and Republican Senator Kevin Cramer (N.D.) to discuss a bipartisan energy package that could include provisions discussed to be part of the budget reconciliation.
The overlap has raised concerns among Democratic lawmakers that Manchin may not be committed to hashing out a deal on a budget reconciliation package and, without his support, there’s little chance Dems will pass any meaningful legislation before the midterms.