Joe Manchin spotted chatting up Kyrsten Sinema on the Senate floor as Dems' Inflation Reduction Act hangs in the balance
- Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema spoke about the Democrats' economic agenda on Tuesday.
- The two moderate Democrats appeared to be in conversation for approximately ten minutes.
Sen. Joe Manchin was spotted — down on one knee — chatting with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on the Senate floor on Tuesday as Democrats grow increasingly anxious over the Arizona centrist's silence thus far on the party's massive spending bill.
Sinema remains the lone Democratic holdout on the multi-billion dollar Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — legislation that was struck in a surprise deal last week between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in an effort to revive parts of President Joe Biden's economic agenda.
Without Sinema's vote, Democrats can't pass the bill using budget reconciliation, which requires all 50 senators to be in agreement in the evenly-split Senate.
Manchin told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that he and Sinema had discussed the legislation, but declined to offer further details.
"We had a nice talk," Manchin told reporters, according to Bloomberg. "She will make her decision based on the facts. We're exchanging texts."
C-SPAN footage from Tuesday's proceedings showed Manchin waiting for an opportunity to speak with Sinema, who was presiding over Senate proceedings. Once she became available, Manchin took a knee to meet her at eye level as she remained seated in her chair.
The two moderate Democrats appeared to chat for approximately ten minutes before Senate business picked up again.
Manchin wasn't the only lawmaker who was spotted chatting with Sinema on the Senate floor. Several Republican senators could be seen talking with the Democrat during Tuesday's business, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has publicly railed against the bill.
A spokesperson for Sinema on Monday told Insider that she is still reviewing the legislative text and is waiting for more guidance from the Senate parliamentarian, the top official overseeing the reconciliation process.
If passed, the legislation would allocate $369 billion to energy security and climate change in an effort to cut carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030. The bill also includes an estimated $64 billion for an extension of the Affordable Care Act through 2025 and allows Medicare to negotiate the price of 10 prescription drugs starting in 2026, securing a top Democratic goal.
Manchin previously suggested that Sinema "has a lot" in this bill.
"She's the one that negotiated basically, and no one changed, the Medicare negotiations," Manchin told reporters earlier this week. "She's been very adamant in this bill on no tax increases. I take that very seriously."
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