Sinema, Manchin play along: "We've made significant progress" -- but ... UPDATE: "Bamboozled"

Sinema, Manchin play along: "We've made significant progress" -- but ...
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

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:

That and $5 will buy you a café latté at Starbucks, Molly Ball observes:

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:

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:

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:

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David Strom 6:01 AM on June 06, 2023