Dems stand back and watch Chuck and Joe show

Many Democrats fret that dragging things out and failing again would be the worst of all scenarios ahead of a difficult midterm election cycle. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), for one, abandoned the effort mentally months ago.

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He laughed incredulously when asked about a last-gasp party-line bill: “I put so much time into immigration on reconciliation. It took a year of my legislative life. I have nothing to show for it. I wish Chuck well on reconciliation. I’m going to focus my legislative efforts in the 60-vote world.”

Dealing with Manchin is a careful and delicate process for Schumer, a famously chatty leader who constantly calls his members and staffers at all times for the latest updates on politics, policy and everything in between. What’s more, opposing Washington Democrats doesn’t exactly hurt Manchin — his tactics thus far have boosted his poll numbers in West Virginia ahead of a possible 2024 run for reelection.

Democratic leaders have learned over the years not to lean on Manchin for his vote, a tactic that might just as easily repel the West Virginian. Because when it comes down to it, Manchin’s bottom line is this: “I have to answer to the people who I represent, who really hire me to do the job of being the representative. And I would hope that all of my caucus colleagues understand.”

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