Manchin Indicates Framework Deal Needs More Time

By Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.
October 21, 2021 Updated: October 21, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) told reporters Thursday that he does not expect Democrats to reach an agreement on the broad details of their multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill by Friday, despite hopes from leaders that a deal was in sight.

After Democrats gathered at a Tuesday lunch to discuss their long-delayed reconciliation bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reported that there was “universal agreement” that a compromise must be reached by the end of the week as divisions in the party continue to hold up the legislative process.

Democrats are now months off schedule in passing their reconciliation bill, as internal party divisions have pushed leadership past deadline after deadline with no vote.

These divisions, despite months of negotiations, continue, with many moderates still rejecting their party’s bill in whole or in part.

Disregarding these setbacks, Schumer was optimistic after Democrats’ Tuesday lunch. He said that there is a “universal agreement in the room that we have to come to an agreement” on the reconciliation bill.

He said that Democrats hope to reach a “framework” agreement by the end of the week.

Manchin said Thursday that this hoped-for deal is unlikely to be ready by Friday.

Asked whether it would take longer to get a deal hammered out, Manchin replied “I believe so, yes. I believe it will but,” he added, “I think that they’re making good progress.”

Manchin explained, “There’s a lot of details. Until you see the text and the fine print, it’s pretty hard to make final decisions until you actually see.”

He continued, “You can have the intent. You have to make sure the text matches the intent.”

“This is not gonna happen any time soon guys,” the West Virginia Democrat ruled.

Despite his ideological rivalry with Manchin, progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he agreed with Manchin that more time is needed to reach a deal.

“Senator Manchin said he does not think a framework agreement is possible by the end of tomorrow. Do you agree that it’s probably going to take beyond the end of the week to get a framework?” A reporter asked Sanders.

“Yes I do,” Sanders responded.

This is another blow to Democrats, who are already months off schedule on passing the bill. Currently, Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have their sights set on an Oct. 31 deadline.

After setting this deadline, Schumer told his colleagues that “Doing big things in Congress is hard. Doing really big things all at once is really hard.” Leadership knew “from the very beginning” that passing the two bills would be “difficult and, at times, messy,” Schumer said.

But, he said, “[Democrats] can get this done, together, if we put aside our differences and find the common ground within our party.”

This “will require sacrifice,” he said, adding that “not every member will get what he or she wanted.”

Despite these divisions, Schumer said, “we will pass legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of the American people. I believe we are going to do just that in the month of October.”

“We will and must pass both bills soon,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues announcing the extension.

But divisions on specific issues have continued to divide the caucus.

Manchin, representing the coal-rich state of West Virginia, has rejected several climate policies put forward by his party, including funding to incentivize the use of clean energy sources.

Manchin also joined Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in rejecting a proposed carbon tax.

For Democrats who have marketed the bill as a panacea to the alleged “climate crisis,” a carbon tax or other similar measures are of crucial importance.

But Manchin told reporters that in his mind, “the carbon tax is not on the board at all right now.”

Tester told reporters, “I’m not a big fan of the carbon tax. I just don’t think it works the way it was explained to me.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has also split with her party on key revenue provisions, telling colleagues that she opposes any increase in corporate or income tax rates.

With these continued squabbles, Manchin’s warning that an agreement “is not gonna happen any time soon,” and a rapidly-approaching deadline, it will be difficult for Democrats to whip up enough support for the bill to meet that deadline.

Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.