With apologies to New Order, this is a bizarre “love” triangle.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he and the rest of the chamber’s Republicans have “lots of love” for a pair of Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
That’s because the pair of moderates have pushed back on their fellow Democrats’ plans to push through Congress President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending package.
“It’s called a reconciliation process that can be done with a simple majority, but [for] a simple majority of the Senate, you’ve got to get every single Democrat, plus the Vice President and Chair in order to pass it,” McConnell told a crowd of supporters in his home state Wednesday.
“So we’re down to two who are resistant: Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. I pray for them every night. I wish them well. We give them lots of love.
“Either one of them could kill the whole bill, I don’t expect that to happen. Either one of them could make dramatic changes in it — that could happen,” he said. “Or either one of them could basically make a few cosmetic changes and throw in the towel.”
His comments come in the wake of Manchin reportedly telling White House officials and leadership that he would not support anything higher than $1.5 trillion in spending, a significantly lower number than progressives have pushed to be used to address issues including immigration reform, climate change and the expansion of social programs including Medicare.
The key Democrat also recently published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal calling on leaders to “hit the pause button” on the sweeping spending bill, raising concerns about inflation and its impact on the deficit. Sinema has also repeatedly said she will not support an additional $3.5 trillion in spending.
While Manchin has called for a halt in action, Democratic leaders in both chambers have asserted they plan on acting swiftly once the bill is completed.
“We’re moving full speed ahead,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on a call Wednesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged that moving a $3.5 trillion bill could be difficult, telling reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that she doesn’t “know what the number will be, we are marking at $3.5 [trillion].”
Republicans have railed against the bill, arguing it is economically irresponsible and a power grab by Democrats to push a partisan agenda.
“There’s not a single member of my party in the House or Senate that’s going to vote for this monstrosity. It is wildly inappropriate for our country. And I raise it today because it’s currently before us, I mean this is going to be decided here in the next couple of months,” McConnell said.
“So trying to preserve the best of America is what we’re up to right now.”