Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reportedly does not always return President Biden’s phone calls concerning the negotiations of reconciliation, CNN reported Thursday.
“Biden himself has sounded exasperated at both Manchin and Sinema,” according to Democrat lawmakers who have spoken to Biden about reconciliation negotiations. “The President told progressives this week that he has spent many hours with the two senators ‘and they don’t move.'”
The legislative standoff is so bad that CNN’s sources told the news organization that Sinema does not “always” return phone calls from Biden.
To resolve any bad blood between the negotiating factions, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) reportedly suggested Biden assemble both senators in a room to hammer out a compromise on the massive tax and spend package, but Biden reportedly believes that would not help the interparty standoff.
The president “told the progressive House Democrats that he’s been in politics a long time — and getting them together in the same room would almost be like ‘homicide,'” CNN reported.
“I just think it’s a matter of getting them in the same room,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) told CNN. Asked if he was concerned the Democrat infighting could derail Biden’s entire agenda, Tester said, “yes.”
Tester is not alone in his belief that a meeting between the senators could resolve differences. “I just think it’s better to have leaders in the room with them, try to bridge their differences,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said.
Democrat infighting comes as the far-left is holding the $1.2 trillion “bipartisan” infrastructure bill hostage in exchange for assurances that radical items will be included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has demanded the reconciliation package be $1.5 trillion while far-left House members and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) want to spend at least $3.5 trillion. It appears Sinema opposes any tax hike the package may contain.
Sanders told reporters Wednesday he was angry that Manchin and Sinema are holding up Biden’s radical agenda. “But two people do not have the right to sabotage what 48 want, and what the President of the United States wants. That to me is wrong,” Sanders said.
Manchin, however, defended himself by claiming he does not want an “entitlement society,” a society Sanders is presumably creating.
“I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think that we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society,” Manchin said.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story listed Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as a Republican. The story has been updated accordingly.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø