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Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema will head to the White House for her fourth meeting in two days


Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema heads back to the White House Wednesday for her fourth meeting in just two days – as progressive lawmakers blast her for holding up the party’s social and economic agenda.

Sinema is one of two Senate Democrats, along with West Virginia‘s Joe Manchin, who are the targets of intensive White House negotiating efforts one the eve of a House vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package costing more than $1 trillion.

The president’s plans for environmental programs, Medicare expansion, paid leave, child tax credits, and plans to tax corporations and the wealthy are all on the line. 

A group of progressive Democrats is threatening to vote against the package if there is not yet agreement on a larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that won’t clear the 50-50 Senate without support rom Sinema and Manchin.

Sinema was at the White House Tuesday morning, then back again in the afternoon and again in the evening. 

‘The president has already won me over. I’m on his side, as by the way is 99 per cent of the Democratic party,’ fumed Rep. Ro Khanna on CNN. ‘We’re willing to negotiate,’ he said. ‘Literally one senator – one Senator, Kyrsten Sinema – is holding up the will of the entire Democratic Party,’ he said. 

 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a holdout on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, heads back to the White House for her fourth meeting in two days 

Part of what is infuriating some of her colleagues is that Sinema has not said publicly what are her concerns with the reconciliation bill or what cost figure she would be willing to accept.

In an illustration of the stakes for his agenda, President Biden cancelled a planned trip to Chicago Wednesday to focus on negotiations.

White House Presss Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Biden and Sinema ‘had a constructive meeting, agreed that we are at a pivotal moment, need to continue to work to finalize the path forward,’ without disclosing any details about what she is seeking. 

Sinema’s office has also declined to air her specific concerns. The New York Times reported on Monday that Sinema has privately told colleagues she has problems with corporate tax hikes and individual increases, which the bill target at wealthy Americans.

'This is not progressives versus moderates. This is the entire Democratic Party and Joe Biden versus Kyrsten Sinema,' fumed Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

‘This is not progressives versus moderates. This is the entire Democratic Party and Joe Biden versus Kyrsten Sinema,’ fumed Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

President Biden cancelled a planned trip to Chicago Wednesday to focus on negotiations

President Biden cancelled a planned trip to Chicago Wednesday to focus on negotiations

'It's not a question of laying out demands. They're having a values discussion with the president of the United States,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has set up an infrastructure vote for Thursday

‘It’s not a question of laying out demands. They’re having a values discussion with the president of the United States,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has set up an infrastructure vote for Thursday

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into Sinema last month. 'Good luck tanking your own party's investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you'll survive a 3 vote House margin - especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a 'bipartisan accomplishment,' she said

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into Sinema last month. ‘Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin – especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment,’ she said

In comments to the Arizona Republic last week, she focused on climate change. ‘We know that a changing climate costs Arizonans. And right now, we have the opportunity to pass smart policies to address it — looking forward to that,’ she said – in remarks that have some observers wondering if she wants a carbon tax, one potential pay-for being considered for the package. 

Khanna said Biden has been seeking to extract information from Sinema without success. 

‘That’s the question. The President keeps begging her: tell us what you want. Put a proposal forward,’ Khsanna said. He noted that progressive lawmakers had come down from an earlier push for $6 trillion in the ‘human infrastructure’ bill.  

‘How do you compromise … when Sinema is not saying anything?’ he asked. ‘This is not progressives versus moderates. This is the entire Democratic Party and Joe Biden versus Kyrsten Sinema,’ he added. ‘I have no idea what she wants. I don’t htink her colleagues know what she wants. I don’t think the president knows what she wants. We don’t know what she wants. it’s really odd. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by reporters Wednesday if Sinema and Manchin should lay out their demands

‘It’s not a question of laying out demands. They’re having a values discussion with the president of the United States … this is much more amicable than you would think just watching television or reading the paper.’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into Sinema last month after she came out against the size of the package. ‘Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin – especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment,’ she said, in reference to negotiators on the infrastructure deal.





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