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Hope for Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget package bolstered by Manchin

Senate Democrats are off to the races after unveiling their $3.5 trillion budget package, with provisions to fight climate change and bolster health care and family service programs over the next decade, The Wall Street Journal reports. The legislation will need backing from all 50 liberal lawmakers to pass, however, and luckily, a key Democratic swing vote appears ready for discussions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who previously balked at the thought of a reconciliation package over $2 trillion, told CNN's Manu Raju on Wednesday that he is "open to looking at everything" his colleagues have provided, a potential key vote of confidence in the sure-to-be "painstaking" negotiations.

The West Virginia senator is reportedly most concerned about the package's pay-fors, and "how it enables us to remain globally competitive." He will, however, "reserve any final judgement until I've had the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the proposal," which is intended as companion legislation to the Manchin-negotiated, $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework.

The challenge now falls to President Biden, who must keep all 50 of his party's senators in line, The Washington Post writes. There are small wins, however; Manchin's potential support combined with that of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — who originally envisioned a much larger package — might be a sign of "the party's appetite for political compromise."

For her part, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), another key moderate, said she will give the new package "careful consideration," and that she is "committed to working with her colleagues and the administration." Read more at The Washington Post.