Dems Have Hard Time Negotiating With Manchin Because It's Like 'via Etch A Sketch' - Report

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteSen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., leaves the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after a lengthy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 30, 2021.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., leaves the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after a lengthy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 30, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2022
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Since the massive bill on social spending promoted by the White House and Congressional Democrats was effectively buried by Manchin in December, his fellow party members are trying to get their stubborn colleague to vote for the Freedom to Vote Act bill he himself introduced to Congress.
US President Joe Biden, Democratic leaders, and emissaries are attempting to persuade fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to support a broad federal election reform plan that includes a variety of filibuster options, but negotiations seem to be running in circles, as the talks have been described as "like negotiating via Etch A Sketch," Axios reported on Sunday.
According to insiders with firsthand knowledge of the talks, Axios reported that the bill is seen by the president and his top legislative supporters as critical to preventing Republican-led changes at the state and local levels and protecting their chances in this fall's midterm elections.
"You think you're just about there. You think you've got an agreement on most of the things and it's settling in. And then you come back the next morning and you're starting from scratch," one undisclosed source said.
The discussions have reportedly mainly been fruitless.
According to Axios, Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are being intensively lobbied by the White House on Manchin's Freedom to Vote Act. The four are longstanding friends who have all been skeptics of changing the filibuster at one point or another.
Manchin is said to appreciate the fact that Kaine and King, like him, are former governors. While the group has met numerous times in recent weeks and has succeeded in getting Manchin to negotiate, the talks have been irregular and circular, the sources said.
Senators are said to be attempting to persuade their colleagues by highlighting the potential boundaries of a filibuster carve-out. Manchin, on the other hand, has made it clear that he opposes carve-outs, as he stated to reporters last week.
The "talking filibuster" — requiring legislative opponents to continue speaking in order to delay a bill, which he has reportedly expressed openness to mandating — and the "reverse filibuster," in which passing a bill requires 40 members to vote "no" rather than 60 to vote "yes," according to sources are some of the most effective arguments in the negotiations.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) walks between meetings at the Capitol in the midst of ongoing negotiations over the Build Back Better bill, which aims to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change, in Washington, U.S. December 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.01.2022
A Change of Heart: Manchin Won't Back His Counteroffer to Biden's BBB Even if WH Does - Report
King, Tester, and Kaine have also stressed that changing Senate rules is not the same as imposing a policy, like gun control or tax cuts, on which they disagree. The senators reportedly stress that it is about enacting safeguards for democracy and Congress as a governing body.
Earlier, the Washington Post reported that Manchin has withdrawn his plan for a $1.8 trillion compromise on Biden's Build Back Better bill from the negotiating table. Following a breakdown in negotiations between Manchin and the White House just before Christmas, the senator has reportedly stated that he does not support going forward with even his compromise offer, according to the article.
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