Centrist Dems Drop Their Hard ‘No’

Written by SK Ashby

Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have both said they 'will not' vote for this or that at some point in recent weeks and months, but it appears they're no longer using a hard 'No' to describe their positions regarding the large reconciliation spending bill.

Rather than say they absolutely won't vote for something, they appear to have entered the negotiation phase. Fellow senators quoted by Politico say each of them has softened their tone and starting floating compromises.

Sinema: Has given leaders more details on what she wants, voicing support for climate provisions, for example. "Kyrsten recognizes there’s a timeline, there’s got to be a process," one of her Senate colleagues told Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine.

Manchin: Is "coming at it from a values perspective first," according to the senator. Indeed, as the man himself said in an interview: "There is no timeline. I want to understand it."

Sinema voicing support for climate provisions is a very good example of a senator using their leverage to get what they want or need.

It's not as if Democratic leadership needs any extra incentive to include climate provisions in a large spending bill, but in this particular case Sinema is likely looking for an extra provision or two for her home state of Arizona which is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Arizona is among the states that could literally become uninhabitable and if Sinema wants to sell a large spending package and her vote for it to the public, there's no better way for her to do that than to get extra money for climate adaptations that people will be able to see in their own neighborhoods.

Manchin may not be fishing for climate provisions, but coming at negotiations from a "values perspective" is another way of saying he wants more money for the low-income residents of West Virginia. And that's fine; it's good. Recent reports tell us that leadership has tried to gain Manchin's support by offering tax credits for the construction of low-income housing. But whatever the case may be, Democratic leaders should give both of them whatever they want if it leads to passage.

A reconciliation package is not going to pass both chambers this week, but I still believe it eventually will.