Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Sunday remained hopeful that a deal can be reached with centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the reconciliation package, following the Build Back Better plan’s passage in the House.
During a press conference on Sunday, Schumer said that Senate Democrats will do what they can to get Manchin to come around to the reconciliation bill. Both Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who are key votes in the evenly divided Senate, have put up a fight over the sweeping BBB’s price tag and scope.
“The House did a very strong bill. Everyone knows that Manchin and Sinema have their concerns, but we’re going to try to negotiate with them and get a very strong, bold bill out of the Senate which will then go back to the House and pass,” Schumer said.
Schumer then insisted that Democrats are “in very good shape to get 50 votes,” but that he expects Republicans will seek ways “to try to knock it out.” The Senate majority leader said that Democrats would like to finish the BBB bill by Christmas.
Appearing on CBS, Gillibrand similarly expressed optimism that Manchin will come around to supporting paid family and medical leave provisions in BBB, despite Manchin’s stated opposition to addressing the issue through reconciliation. Gillibrand has been in touch with Manchin on the issue as she continues her efforts to convince the centrists senator to support it. The House added a paid leave provision to its bill, which could be a potential point of contention as BBB heads to the Senate.
“I think Sen. Manchin and I can come together hopefully in the next couple of weeks on something that could be included in this package,” Gillibrand said.
“I’m hopeful that if I can use the next three weeks to really impress upon Sen. Manchin that some things can only be done with Democrats — only that now is the only time to do that, perhaps, in the next decade,” Gillibrand continued.
After saying that she wants to work with Manchin on some of his ideas such as employer-employee contribution systems, Gillibrand noted that as a holdout on BBB, Manchin is in the “driver’s seat” on the reconciliation package’s pay-fors.
“And so, I’m just hopeful that he can remain open minded to include some provisions for paid leave because this is the only moment to get paid leave done,” Gillibrand said. “The bipartisan ideas he has will not come to fruition with the Republican senators that are interested in paid leave today because they aren’t interested today in a universal plan.”