And while House Democrats may be going through the stages of grief over the likely loss of their own longstanding legislative goals, most have not been accepted. On the contrary, after Manchin’s latest bombshell, some seem stuck in the anger phase.
“Senator Manchin said a lot of things. Time after time, what he’s been saying clearly over and over again is that he can’t get a deal done and you can’t trust what he’s saying,” the Congressional Progressive Caucus leader said. . Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said Friday.
President Joe Biden, in a statement Friday afternoon, urged the Senate to pass the simplified spending bill before the chamber’s August recess weeks, and pledged to take executive action on the climate and energy production. Jayapal, however, declined to say whether she thinks Democrats should agree to a narrower deal focused solely on prescription drug negotiations and Obamacare subsidies, requiring Manchin to come up with a concrete proposal that he would support in first.
Jayapal knows what it means to say “no,” having helped delay the House’s passage of the $550 billion infrastructure bill last year. But she said she didn’t see a similar tactic working this time around, citing Democratic leaders’ failed attempt at a two-track approach where Manchin and progressives could support each other’s priorities. Even though the Liberals blocked bipartisan bills this summer, such as an upcoming manufacturing bill, Jayapal isn’t sure the leverage would help.
“There is no way to negotiate with a dishonest negotiator. That’s what we did,” Jayapal said, referring to their measures regarding infrastructure legislation.
This manufacturing bill, however, is a huge priority for several vulnerable Democrats like Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) – although he was thrown into chaos after the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to reject this legislation unless the majority party lowers its health bill.
“Everything has been slow on this. Lo and behold, we are now approaching the election and Mitch McConnell and everyone else is playing politics,” Slotkin said of China’s competitiveness bill, which is essential for its swing seat in the Midwest. “So I’m all for the CHIPS law being done, one way or another, by August 1st.”
It’s not just grassroots Democrats pushing leaders to pass a scaled-down version of their competitiveness bill. The White House is now launching a proposal to sever a key part of that package — the $52 billion in semiconductor funding — to pass it on its own, stalling McConnellability to use the fate of the bill as a political pawn.
In a rare visit to the Hill Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urged House lawmakers from both parties to provide that funding for the computer chips as soon as possible. That evening, President Nancy Pelosi told his leadership team that he could table a bill next week that would include funding for semiconductors, along with other things yet to be determined rather than a standalone bill.
Still, House leaders insist they are unwilling to bend and simply go along with the wholesale Senate bill amid the broader standoff with McConnell.
“Of course, we can pass the Senate bill and then we might as well eliminate the House, which the Senate might like to do,” the House Majority Leader said. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) joked.
Pressed if he meant there was no situation in which the House would simply pass the Senate bill, Hoyer clarified, “I didn’t say that.”
To pass either package – assuming the Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer can make a deal with Manchin — House Democrats need to master their perennial problem: math. Pelosi can afford to lose just four votes from his caucus to pass a deal without Republicans. That means she would need nearly all of her members to accept Senate versions of the competitiveness bill and a set of party lines that could now include only drug pricing and Obamacare subsidies. She declined to weigh in on Manchin’s red lines on Friday, noting she needed to speak with Schumer.
The whipping effort could be an even bigger headache for House Democratic leaders over this latest package, a stripped-down version of last year’s ‘Build Back Better’ bill, if their Senate counterparts deliver. one day a plan.
Schumer and Manchin kept their talks on a reduced level domestic policy bill held tightly, looking at something much smaller than the More than 1,000 billion dollars in bills passed by the House last year. The centrist’s rejection of modest tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, as well as climate policy, would leave Democrats with a health care bill only as a last option — even if it appeared to leave the door open to a climate bill later this year.
Even before Manchin balked, a group of about half a dozen House moderates watching the talks from afar grew increasingly suspicious of how the Senate would handle the tax provisions. Several have privately discussed counter-offers they might make to any Senate deal.
This centrist House group includes members like Rep. Josh Gottheimer (DN.J.), who drew a hard line during last year’s negotiations over the repeal of the cap on state and local tax deductions, known as SALT. Gottheimer, Sherrill, Rep. Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.) and others all say they’re sticking to their “no salt, no okay” line.
And at least one House Democrat who has made another request for that package — on immigration — says he’s not backing down either.
representing Lou Correa (D-Calif.) said if there’s no immigration reform in the package, “then no, I’m not interested in supporting it…maybe they don’t don’t need my vote.”
Progressives, meanwhile, say they are not simply willing to greenlight a Manchin-Schumer deal, which could sideline other key priorities.
representing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) warned that assuming House Democrats simply accept whatever happens, the Senate is missing legislative and political reality.
“There are certain things that for some members are a red line. And we came very close with the gun safety bill, and the only reason I think the gun safety bill got the votes it got is because that we were able to step in early enough to shape what came out of the Senate,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a brief interview.
If the Senate simply announces a deal without input from the rest of the party, she warned, “There could very easily be deal-breaking provisions not just for me but for any number of members because the Senate has a lot of blind spots, especially when it comes to class and racing.
For some of those Democrats, rolling back the climate provisions would make it incredibly difficult to support them. When asked if he would reject a Senate deal without energy provisions, Rep. Jamal Bowman (DN.Y.) said, “I dunno man, gotta see the details. But we have to do something about climate change.
However, some longtime House Democrats are willing to get more pragmatic.
“I guess I’m a practical person. What we can know is what the Senate will or will not do. I think it’s important to get as many as possible. I think we would take it, I do,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-California). “But again, the Senate has to figure out what it’s going to do.”
Gavin Bade and Anthony Adragna contributed.