Manchin Joining Jill Biden On West Virginia Trip As White House Courts His Vote

Manchin Joining Jill Biden On West Virginia Trip As White House Courts His Vote


Topline

The White House on Wednesday announced Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will join first lady Jill Biden on a trip to West Virginia as the White House tries to get the conservative Democrat in line on key legislative priorities.

Key Facts

The trip, which also includes actress Jennifer Garner, a native of West Virginia, will include meet-and-greets with local officials and National Guard soldiers, as well as a stop at a vaccination center.

Manchin has been the subject of an aggressive charm offensive by the White House, which has included a successful nomination for his wife to serve as chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Most recently, Manchin met with President Joe Biden on Monday to discuss the administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal after he criticized Biden’s plan to pay for the spending package through a corporate tax hike.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), arguably the most conservative Senate Democrat besides Manchin, also met with Biden on Tuesday, telling reporters the meeting went “great” and that Biden gave her chocolate chip cookies.

The meetings come as Democrats and Republicans remain deeply divided on both the size of an infrastructure package and how to pay for it, with Republicans proposing around $600 to $800 billion and calling corporate tax increases a “red line.”

Key Background

Senate Democrats have kept open the option of using budget reconciliation, a process that allows them to pass certain bills without the need for 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster, for infrastructure. A parliamentary ruling in April appears to have opened the door for passing multiple bills through that method if necessary. But support from all 50 Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, would be needed to pass any legislation that way.

Crucial Quote

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the GOP’s point-person on infrastructure, dismissed the idea that Biden is meeting with Manchin and Sinema to shore up support for if Democrats decide to use reconciliation. “I actually think it’s more getting ideas from as many people as he can,” she told Forbes.

Tangent

Manchin has frequently touted his close relationship with Biden and the open line of communication the two share. “Whenever he calls me… I’ve never denied him,” he told reporters on Monday.



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