Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress President Biden has made in negotiations with moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema over the price tag for a massive spending bill that Biden Friday admitted would need to be lower than its current $3.5 trillion.
In the past few weeks, Democrats have been battling within the party between the moderates and progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, who are backed by Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Progressives have remained steadfast in pushing for the budget reconciliation to cost $3.5 trillion, despite Pelosi admitting it might not be that much. Moderates, on the other hand, have vowed to not vote for that price tag when it comes to the floor.
On Friday, Biden also admitted the party would “probably not” get the full $3.5 trillion package.
“To be honest with you, we’re probably not going to get $3.5 trillion this year. We’re going to get something less than that. But I’m going to negotiate, I’m going to get it done,” he said.
Frustration is growing among Congress as little movement is made in negotiations, with one Democratic senator saying Sinema and Machin have both “left the president hanging,” according to The Hill.
The senator spoke on the record anonymously with the outlet to “vent about the lack of progress.”
“If [Biden had been able to walk away and say, ‘I have a commitment to $2 trillion from both [senators] and now we’re working on the details,’ it would have been like a sense of momentum. ‘The president’s magic of the Oval Office comes in once again.’ But instead it was like, ‘There’s no magic in the Oval Office right now,” the senator told the Hill.
The president has met multiple times with Sinema and Manchin separately at the White House since September. While Manchin has come forward with a top line number of $1.5 trillion, Sinema has still not publicly said how high she is willing to go.
When asked about their discussions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly denied discussing any terms of the negotiations with the press, pointing to Sinema to speak for herself.
This week, reports emerged that Sinema said she would not support the multi-trillion dollar social spending bill until the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure passes in Congress.
Another Democratic senator lambasted Sinema for calling Pelosi’s decision to delay the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month “inexcusable.”
“It’s one thing to say I’m not satisfied, it’s another thing to criticize,” the senator said.
A Democratic Senate aide has revealed that while many Democratic Senators understand the moderates are using their leverage, they are growing impatient with Biden’s negotiation style, rather than Sinema and Manchin.
“This has been the Biden thing so far, his leadership style is to basically ask for nothing. There’s nothing,” the aide said.
“There’s less frustration with them than there is with Biden,” the aide added. “It’s his time to step up.”