Manchin Tries to Recruit Sinema for Democrats’ $433 Billion Spending Bill

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is reportedly trying to convince Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to support the $433 billion spending bill he negotiated in private with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The bill, widely considered a stripped-back version of President Joe Biden’s 2021 “Build Back Better” plan, proposes $433 billion in new government spending — money that would go towards a variety of climate and healthcare initiatives and, the bill’s proponents claim, somehow reduce inflation.

Sinema has so far remained silent about whether she plans to support the legislation, a fact that worries Senate Democrats who know they will need all 50 Democratic votes for the bill to pass the evenly-divided Senate.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Manchin said he had finally been able to speak with Sinema about the bill, but was vague about the details of their conversation. “We had a nice time. We had a nice time,” Manchin said. “Next?”

“We’re exchanging text back and forth,” Manchin said when pressed again about Sinema’s status, adding that she’s “extremely bright, she works hard, she makes good decisions. I’m reliant on that.”

At least part of Sinema’s reluctance to back Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction Act” reportedly stems from the fact that she was left out of the secret negotiation between Schumer and Manchin, a moderate Democrat who previously expressed opposition to the Build Back Better initiative.

When asked why he had chosen to keep Sinema and other lawmakers in the dark about the plan, Manchin said he didn’t want to go public until a final deal had been successfully ironed out.

“She’s my dear friend,” he said of Sinema. “But why bring anyone in and all their aspirations get high and the drama we go through, and it doesn’t work out?”

John LoBombard, a former senior aide to Sinema, said he was perplexed by Schumer and Manchin’s decision to include a tax provision Sinema had previously opposed in the bill.

“The question that I have and what has confused me about Sen. Schumer’s strategy is not necessarily whether and when to loop her [in],” he said. “What perplexes me more is the idea that he would knowingly and, in my mind, somewhat randomly add in a tax policy provision that … he knew she had substantive concerns and questions about.”