This is what’s known as “doing a solid” … but not too solid, as you’ll see. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants the House to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill as much as Joe Biden does. After Biden floated the “framework” this morning, Sinema jumped in to boost its prospects for convincing progressives to swerve first in this bizarre game of chicken they’ve created for themselves.
Thus we have this very carefully crafted statement from the Arizona Democrat:
Sinema statement on reconciliation framework: pic.twitter.com/89UjgibyuO
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) October 28, 2021
That and $5 will buy you a café latté at Starbucks, Molly Ball observes:
Ctrl-F "support" https://t.co/GJFrnLn05s
— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) October 28, 2021
There’s a good reason for the omission. As I wrote earlier today, Biden tried a jack-high bluff with progressives by moving forward with this proposed framework on a reconciliation deal without securing support from the two dissenters that have blocked the effort all along. Sinema’s backing that bluff at the moment, but pointedly not using the word “support.”
It’s the equivalent of damning with faint praise. That also appears to be Joe Manchin’s approach:
Manchin says right now negotiations are in the hands of the house.
“In the hands of the House. I’ve been dealing in good faith and will continue to deal in good faith.”
Pressed if that means he back the package.
He told @tedbarrettcnn: “You’ve got two ears. Listen.”
— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) October 28, 2021
That also falls into the $5 café latté category. Manchin’s trying to get the BIF vote too, but he’s not capitulating on the reconciliation bill to get it. And until Manchin and Sinema commit to voting for Biden’s package, it’s a no sale among progressives — or at least with Bernie Sanders:
Bernie Sanders: “I think before there is a vote in the House on the infrastructure bill, the members of the House have a right to know that 50 US senators are supporting a strong reconciliation bill,” per @alizaslav.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 28, 2021
That in itself is a small concession from Sanders, as it implies that a commitment of support for Biden’s framework might be enough to uncork a vote on the BIF.
Without that concession from Manchin and Sinema, though, it’s almost impossible for House progressives to retreat. Nancy Pelosi has gone into a closed meeting with that caucus to twist arms for a BIF vote, but it seems unlikely to move the needle — not unless progressives finally just give up on the reconciliation bill altogether and hope that the BIF will be enough of a victory to satisfy their activist base. Stay tuned.
Update: It’s not going well, apparently:
“If a vote on the BIF is held today, I'm a no,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.)
“I feel a little bamboozled because this is not what I thought was coming today”
— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) October 28, 2021