“I can tell you that Senator Manchin is interested in an employer and an employee based [plan], and I’m negotiating with him right now to see if we can include the paid vacation in a final package, âshe said.
Gillibrand is not alone. Senators Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) And Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) Are also working to allay Manchin’s concerns about the party’s efforts to close the Medicaid coverage gap. Despite concerns from the centrist public earlier today, Warnock said Monday evening that to his knowledge, the Medicaid expansion would still be included in the social spending program.
The back-and-forth with Manchin comes as the White House and Democratic leaders push for an agreement on the outline of the bill before President Joe Biden leaves on an overseas trip that includes a summit global conference on climate change. While most party members are optimistic about a deal that can unite progressive and moderate factions, Manchin and the White House are still negotiating a frontline number, as well as which agendas to include and for how long.
When asked if he could accept a $ 1.75 trillion social spending bill, Manchin reiterated that he still wanted the price to stay at $ 1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders are still clamoring for about $ 2 trillion after dropping from $ 3.5 trillion, a drop that will inevitably require big cuts in specific policy proposals.
âI am concerned about a lot of things,â Manchin said.
House leaders are currently considering a vote Wednesday on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which they aim to pass before federal funding for surface transportation expires on October 31. But to get this vote, they need a cadre with the support of Manchin and the second centrist resistance fighter, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), within the next 48 hours.
A spokesperson for Sinema said the senator “continued discussions throughout the weekend and progress continues to be made.” Sinema worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) On proposals that would bring income to the wealthy and businesses without raising rates for businesses or high-income people.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Said Monday Democrats plan to introduce the so-called billionaire tax, a proposal Manchin also supports, “within the next two days.”
“I support virtually everyone who pays their fair share of taxes,” Manchin said on Monday. âWe all have a different approach to this. But when it comes to taxation, I think companies should pay at least a minimum if you’re doing business in the United States.
Senate Democrats are also working to finalize the top political priorities for the social spending program, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the party had only “three or four issues left.”
Manchin, who chairs the Energy Committee, met on Monday afternoon with Schumer, Wyden, the chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), The chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment and public works Tom Carper (D-Del.) on climate provisions. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said Democrats were pursuing a third option on immigration reform that would provide temporary status to some undocumented workers.
Without an agreed upon plan for the social spending plan, House progressives are expected to line up against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would not bode well for the party ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial election next week.
“We want to have an agreement so that we can move forward,” President Nancy Pelosi said on Monday as she left a meeting with Democratic House leaders.
Over the weekend, paid family leave and health insurance benefits for vision, dental and hearing were potentially down amid opposition from Manchin and Sinema’s resistance to some. regards. Manchin did not detail specific concerns about the party’s proposed paid vacation program, but said on Monday he was still working to reach an agreement with his colleagues on the Medicaid provisions of the bill.
Manchin told reporters on Monday he feared creating inequalities between states that have already extended Medicaid – including his home state, West Virginia – and those that have not. Expansion states pay 10 percent of the cost of expansion, and 12 states have yet to expand Medicaid coverage.
âThe problem I have with that one right now, we’re paying 90/10. So 10% is paid by all states. For states that have stood their ground and rewarded 100%, it’s not fair, âManchin said.
Medicaid assistance in the bill is a top priority for House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (DS.C.) and Warnock, who come from states where hundreds of thousands of poor people could enroll in the program. This amounts to a tangible victory that they and other Red State Democrats could campaign on next year.
“He raised some concerns and I think I answered them,” Warnock said Monday. âSome say it’s unfair to people in expanding states. I think what is unfair is that Georgians are paying for health care to which they do not have access.
In addition to explaining his stance on Medicaid, Manchin detailed his qualms about the Medicare expansion that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Has championed. Sanders declined to comment.
Manchin said his “big concern right now” is the current projection that Medicare will hit a point of tax insolvency in 2026, making it difficult for expansion.
âMedicare and Social Security are a lifeline for the people of West Virginia, most people across the country,â he told reporters. âYou have to stabilize that first before considering an expansion, so if you’re not fiscally responsible that’s really worrying.
Another huge issue for many Democrats, both progressive and centrist, is allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices in one way or another. One idea being discussed is to allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of a limited number of drugs, similar to the Veterans Affairs system, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The issue has yet to be resolved and some Democrats fear it will ease further.
As negotiations drag on, some progressive lawmakers are increasingly worried about what will be included in the package.
“I am very concerned,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Citing policy priorities such as funding for housing, kindergarten and community college. “We are past the point where everything has to be locked down.”
Alice Ollstein, Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.