Let's Make a Deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday night, but in a nod to the restive centrists in her caucus, she also did not adjourn the House — so legislatively, it is still Thursday on Friday. The plan is to vote on the bill Friday, but the plans have changed before. A group of progressive House progressives are still threatening to sink the bill without solid assurance their moderate colleagues will back the larger Build Back Better bill. Pelosi spent much of Thursday trying to wrangle those assurances.
By late Thursday night, Politico reports, Pelosi talks "evolved into in-person discussions" among key moderates Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), progressive stalwart Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), plus White House officials. By the end of the night, Pelosi had reportedly offered Manchin a $2.1 trillion BBB package, with the money divided between family issues like child care and paid leave, ObamaCare subsidies and other health care issues, and climate change.
Manchin reiterated after the meeting that he's "still on $1.5 [trillion]" and he's "been on 1.5 and I'm going to make sure that people understand there's an awful lot of good." So Pelosi's offer, Politico says, "makes clear to progressives they can forget about $3.5 trillion, and gives us a ballpark for a potential compromise: most likely between $1.5 and $2.1 trillion."
Ultimately, "Manchin is looking for a way to get to 'yes' on a spending bill, as long as he can stomach the final price tag," Axios reports. "Sinema has always been slightly more skeptical and has indicated she's comfortable voting no." She has also not been publicly forthright about what she wants or would accept, though she tweeted a statement Thursday insisting that claims she "has not detailed her views" to Biden and Schumer "are false," and they "are fully aware of Sen. Sinema's priorities, concerns, and ideas."
Most of her colleagues are still in the dark, Axios says. But her political allies say she's essentially "something of a fiscal conservative" who also "believes in the power of government to help lift people from poverty" and is "committed to bolstering the Affordable Care Act." Also, Axios reports, "addressing climate change is a clear priority for Sinema — putting her on a potential collision course with Manchin."