United against higher spending, centrist Democrats don’t agree on what to cut or keep

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Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are the two holdouts as Democrats and the White House try to reach a deal on a sweeping spending bill. But their policy demands may put them at odds.

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Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images


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Sanders is fed up with the focus on these two senators. He said they should be the ones compromising since polls show Biden’s agenda is popular and the vast majority of Democrats in Congress back the framework.

«It is simply not fair, not right that one or two people say: My way or the highway,» he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently sidestepped a question about the frustrations some Democrats have over negotiations with these two moderates. But she appeared to signal there was an effort to move Manchin on the overall number. She said the president «feels that we’re continuing to make progress, that both Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema are negotiating in good faith, that there is a recognition that not only do some people have to come down from their expectations of what might be in a package, but some others have to come up.»

The reality is that these two moderates likely hold the key to the final shape of what Democrats say could be the most significant social spending measure since the New Deal. If they can’t find common ground, their opposition to a package would be a massive setback for the Democratic Party and send it reeling ahead of the 2022 midterms.

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