That means figuring out how the hell to deal with Manchin and his fellow diva, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Their colleagues get fed up with the two and it doesn’t matter who knows. A Democratic source active in the talks between Manchin and Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) told Axios that dealing with him is “like negotiating through Etch A Sketch. ”
“You think you’re almost there. You think you agree on most things, and you get used to it. And then you come back the next morning and start all over again,” the source continued. Another said the senators would feel like they got somewhere, then Manchin will leave the room and go home and get a lot of calls from outsiders and all progress will be erased, as he comes back and wants to repeat what the other thought. was arranged. “I think he listens to everyone, and that’s the problem. Whoever he’s heard from most recently has the upper hand,” said the second source.
On the one hand, Manchin’s refusal to accept an exception for voting rights and electoral issues, probably the cleanest way to get the legislation passed, could lead to more substantial filibuster reforms. Doing something like restoring a talking filibuster, who has supported Manchin in the past, could apply to all legislation. That would be great if Manchin really means it and if it can actually happen. Sens. Kaine, King and Tester have tried to convince him that changing the filibuster will restore the Senate and make it a functioning body again.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern that assuming Sinema will sign because she would like to be completely isolated is a problem. A Democratic senator told Axios, “There is no movement from the position she expressed” in a… Washington Post editorial from last summer, in which she argued that the filibuster cannot be changed. “I’m not convinced it’s impossible; I’m just convinced that what we’re doing doesn’t move her,” the senator said.
That’s voting rights, but Democrats are dealing with the same stubbornness and uncertainty of Manchin about Build Back Better, President Biden’s signature legislation. The Etch-a-Sketch analogy comes into play again, as Democrats say Manchin hasn’t really given them more clarity on what he wants since they started talking in August.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told The hill that he has “no idea” whether Manchin is interested in a deal at all. When asked about Manchin’s endgame, Durbin said, “Still in the dark.”
“It’s not like normal negotiation, and that’s what frustrates Biden and frustrates everyone,” said a Democratic senator, asking for anonymity. They called the process “a dance” in which Manchin will make his colleagues believe they are making progress, but he still refuses to agree to anything. “You expect people to sit in a room and figure out the details,” the senator said. That’s not what Manchin does. Another anonymous senator said: “I have to reason to think that he [wants a deal], literally no reason to believe he does.” They added, “All the evidence is to the contrary.”
On the other hand, Kaine thinks he really wants to make a deal. “There are pieces that he doesn’t like and he has questions about the size and the fees and stuff, but I never found in him that he doesn’t want a deal to be made,” he said. The hill. He was joined in that assessment by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). “I think he’s sincere in his efforts to work things out,” he said
By the end of the week, the Senate will either have done something to save democracy, or kicked the can on the road again because Manchin. Always Manchin.
It has been a quiet week on the House side, punctuated by a growing number of positive COVID tests among members. Majority leader Steny Hoyer has announced that “the House will take steps to extend voting times and limit the number of votes on the Floor”, to increase security. “Members are reminded that masks are mandatory on the home floor without exception, and everyone is encouraged to use N95 or KN95 masks instead of cloth or surgical masks that were previously widely used.”
This weekend, four members announced they had contracted COVID: Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Sean Casten (D-IL), and Young Kim (R-CA). That’s probably just on the surface: At least one Republican Rep. Bill Posey from Florida—kept his diagnosis hidden from the leadership. Given the statistics, it is highly unlikely that more Republicans have not contracted the disease. They just don’t make it public and may not take action to protect others. So yes, the home floor is again one of the most dangerous places in America.