Joe Manchin Is In Private Contact With Sinema

( While West Virginia moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a tax and climate change bill this week, there was still one holdout on the liberal side — Krysten Sinema from Arizona.

Earlier this week, Manchin said he was talking to Sinema — often viewed as one of his close allies in the Senate — about the package to help her understand better what he negotiated with Schumer. Manchin also said he was open to further suggestions about what could make the bill better to get it approved by all 50 Democratic members of the Senate, so they can push it through using budget reconciliation.

Manchin wouldn’t reveal exact details of his conversation with Sinema, but said that he was very open to hearing his colleague’s feedback and what she feels might need to be changed or altered for her to support it. The deal between Manchin and Schumer would result in a bill that would raise $739 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years, and reduce the deficit in the budget by more than $300 billion in the process.

After being pressed to reveal details of his chat with Sinema, Manchin simply told reporters:

“We had a nice time. We had a nice time. Next?”

He was then asked whether he believed Sinema would support the bill that would give President Joe Biden what could be his biggest legislative victory since entering the White House. Manchin responded:

“We’re exchanging texts back and forth. [Sinema is] extremely bright. She works hard. She makes good decisions based on facts. I’m reliant on that.”

Sinema was involved in writing the original piece of legislation that ultimately failed late last year. Specifically, she played a crucial role in negotiation reform for prescription drug prices and was also broadly involved in the tax chapter of the bill.

That being said, she learned that Manchin had come to an agreement with Schumer on the package the way that her other colleagues did, which his via a press release.

For his part, Manchin said he was still open to hearing what Sinema had to say about the bill, and making any necessary changes she wanted so she would get on board. That includes one of his own priorities, which was closing the loophole for carried interest.

As Manchin explained:

“We’re just basically exchanging back and forth whatever I have that she hasn’t seen. And our staffs are working together very closely.”

Manchin added that he was also providing materials to other Democrats and even Republicans on relevant parts of the bill, which should be put up for a vote in the Senate in the near future.

To this point, no Republicans have said they will support the bill. That means Democrats will once again have to proceed using budget reconciliation. Assuming it passes through the upper chamber, it’ll head to the House, where it could face some backlash from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.