Democrats are getting more upset with President Joe Biden's lack of progress in discussions with moderate Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema over the cost of a huge spending bill that Biden conceded on Friday would need to be less than $3.5 trillion.
Democrats have been fighting among themselves in recent weeks, with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, who are endorsed by Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, slugging it out.
Despite Pelosi's admission that the budget reconciliation may not cost that much, progressives have stayed strong in their demand that it cost $3.5 trillion. When it gets to the floor, moderates, on the other hand, have promised not to vote for that price tag.
Sen.Sinema remains in opposition of Biden's spending bill
Biden also conceded on Friday that the Democratic Party will "likely" not get the entire $3.5 trillion agenda, NY Post reported.
According to The Hill, Congress is getting frustrated with the lack of progress in discussions, with one Democratic senator claiming Sinema and Machin have both "left the president hanging." Sinema talked with the outlet on the record, anonymously, to "vent about the lack of progress."
Since September, the president has visited Sinema and Manchin individually at the White House. Although Manchin has proposed a top line of $1.5 trillion, Sinema has yet to publicly state how far she is ready to go.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, has consistently denied discussing the specifics of the negotiations with the press, directing to Sinema to speak for herself.
Sinema stated this week that she would not back the multi-trillion dollar social spending bill unless Congress passed a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Another Democratic senator chastised Sinema for calling Pelosi's decision to postpone last month's vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill "inexcusable."
Biden suggests possible compromise to reach a deal
While many Democratic Senators recognize the moderates' leverage, they are getting dissatisfied with Biden's negotiating style, rather than Sinema and Manchin's, according to a Democratic Senate staffer.
Biden has unofficially suggested a price tag of $2 trillion as a possible compromise. Many Democrats are becoming upset with the pair because they want to pass the bill as soon as possible so that new government benefits may be implemented before the midterm elections next year.
However, talks have stalled, partially due to Sinema's opposition to raising tax rates for people and major corporations. The party is pushing the budget proposal via a reconciliation process.
This permits Democrats to pass it with a simple majority while avoiding GOP agreement. But, in order for the proposal to pass the 50-50 Senate, Democrats will need both Manchin and Sinema's votes, making unanimity in the upper chamber critical.
Per Business Insider, Biden seemed to imply that another reconciliation bill may be on the way, something that some House Democrats haven't ruled out for next year. The White House did not reply to a request for comment.