News & Politics
Premium

Are We Losing Manchin?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has repeatedly refused to support the $3.5 trillion social spending bill being pushed by Joe Biden. He has long insisted that he’d agree to something smaller—specifically $1.5 trillion, and he put a few conditions on that number as well. He reiterated just last week that $1.5 trillion was the highest he’d go. “My top-line has been $1.5 [trillion],” he said, adding that he doesn’t want “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.”

This naturally didn’t please progressives, but he has stood firm. The $3.5 trillion spending bill is all but dead. Manchin, for all intents and purposes, won the battle.

But now Manchin is saying he’s open to a budget reconciliation bill in the range of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion.

“I’m not ruling anything out,” Manchin told reporters Tuesday. “But the bottom line is I want to make sure that we’re strategic and we do the right job and we don’t basically add more to the concerns we have right now.”

This is still much smaller than what Democrats were hoping for, but Manchin’s flexibility on the topline number won’t be the only problem for Democrats moving forward. Manchin insists that the reconciliation bill include the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion. For years, Joe Biden was a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, but he flip-flopped when he ran for president. Manchin previously told National Review that reconciliation is “dead on arrival” in the Senate if it doesn’t include the Hyde Amendment.

Related: Rolling Stone Lefty Loses It, Shrieks ‘Joe Manchin Just Cooked the Planet’