sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said his side has two options: make a guaranteed deal or wait for a better one. “I’d rather go for the former than the latter,” he advised.
While many Senate Democrats criticized and blamed Manchin for halting talks with Senate leader Chuck Schumer that could have delivered a package on drug pricing, taxes and climate change, only Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) is openly calling for repeal. of his chairmanship of the energy committee. Most other Democrats are not against Manchin, but are willing to take what they can get.
After more than a year of trying to guess at a deal that could both win Manchin and achieve the party’s long-standing policy goals, it was clear Monday night that there’s not much Democrats can do before the midterm elections. After exhausting themselves and pushing the boundaries of a 50-50 Senate as far as possible, the Democratic senators are done trying to chase Manchin.
“If you continue to negotiate, it’s like, what would your evidence be that would lead to something positive?” Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said of further climate talks. “If you want that, that’s fine. But let’s continue. We should have voted on this months ago.”
Manchin was not present at a leadership meeting Monday night, an acquaintance said. He doesn’t always go to those meetings or meetings of the full caucus.
Manchin continued to hold the door open for future talks, even as colleagues move on mentally. He said that if inflation falls next month, he would be willing to accept tax hikes and a huge climate and energy package.
“I didn’t run from anything. And inflation is my main concern because of the way it’s affected my state and the entire country, and that’s all I have to say,” Manchin told reporters. “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
However, Senate Democrats are expected this month to try to pass legislation to cut the cost of prescription drugs and health care premiums without GOP votes, using the filibuster protections of the budget-alignment process. While these items are both top priorities for the party, Democrats still aren’t hiding their disappointment at the state of climate change.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made it clear that he was dissatisfied with Manchin: “Joe should have made his position clear a long time ago … we wasted a lot of time negotiating.” But he warned against seeking revenge and warned that it would be politically counterproductive.
“We’re not going that way. We are in a 50-50 Senate,” Durbin said Monday afternoon. “We should not clear our ranks and hand over the majority.”
sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.), one of the few Democrats still willing to potentially negotiate a deal with Manchin on climate, said Monday: “I am deeply frustrated, period, that what may be one of the most existential threats is for humanity that could damage our country for trillions of dollars, threatening the lives of the most vulnerable first – that we do nothing about it right now. “
The subject of all that criticism seemed unfazed. When asked about the suggestion that he would lose his presidency, Manchin replied: “I understand there is one person and I understand their frustration and concern. It’s a democracy. I come from a different state, but we also need energy. And we can walk and chew gum. We can find a way forward.”
Previously, Manchin had held talks over a possible bipartisan energy proposal that stalled when his talks with Schumer about a bill that is only democratically minded heated up. As part of an agreement, Manchin wants the federal government to allow policy changes that would expand domestic energy production.
After returning from a week of working from home due to Covid, Schumer did not address the stalemate with the most conservative member of his caucus. Durbin was deferential to the Democratic leader: “I can live with Chuck’s choice in this regard.”
Democrats will meet Tuesday in a closed caucus meeting that some predicted would give a clearer picture of where the party is headed from here. Finance committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Monday afternoon that he does not want to give up on finding a way to approve the tens of billions of dollars in clean energy investments highlighted in the talks. considered , given the impending expiry of the tax credits.
Wyden said that “clean energy talks must continue to preserve our options to move forward.”
Democratic officials at the Top House asked senior officials about adding other provisions to the reconciliation legislation during a Monday meeting, and were told it was out of the question, according to a person familiar with the situation. Home workers were also told to keep the first week of August flexible to accommodate potential health legislation passed by the Senate.