The West Virginia senator’s recent moves are casting doubt on Biden’s pre-midterm agenda.
Several Democratic senators told The Hill that they are decreasingly confident that Manchin will play ball on a series of legislative packages they hope to roll out before midterm elections.
One such move, a budget reconciliation package that would stop Republicans from using a Senate filibuster to block Biden’s legislative agenda, is of particular concern.
A Senator who wished to remain anonymous said there’s “less [confidence] every day” that Manchin will get on board to pass a reconciliation bill.
A second senator said one-on-one efforts to negotiate with Manchin aren’t working, whether they come from senior White House officials or Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
They floated the idea of calling him out more publicly. “I think we need to have a come-to-Jesus moment,” they said. “The backroom approach has not worked.”
Manchin was notably absent from a Tuesday lunch meeting on reconciliation package negotiations, the first time the Democratic caucus met since the two-week April recess.
“The bottom line is I am a West Virginia Democrat. I’m not a Washington Democrat. And I’m not a very liberal person. I’m more of a centrist. I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” Machin said of himself.
That approach seems to be working for the senator. His job approval rating in West Virginia, a state former President Trump won with 69% of the vote, is up 17 points from a year ago.