Senator Joe Manchin was spotted on one knee chatting with Senator Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate on Tuesday as Democrats are getting more and more anxious on the Arizona centrist’s silence so far on the party’s massive spending bill.
Without Sinema’s vote, Democrats cannot pass the bill using budget reconciliation, which requires all 50 senators to agree in an evenly divided Senate.
“We had a good conversation,” Manchin told reporters, according to Bloomberg. “She will make her decision based on the facts. We are exchanging texts.”
C-SPAN images Tuesday’s proceedings showed Manchin waiting for an opportunity to speak with Sinema, who was presiding over the Senate debates. 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 about ten minutes before Senate business resumed.
A Sinema spokesperson said on Monday Initiated that she is still examining the legislative text and awaits more guidance from the Senate parliamentarian, the senior official overseeing the reconciliation process.
If passed, the legislation would allocate $369 billion for energy security and climate change with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The bill also includes about $64 billion for a extending the Affordable Care Act through 2025 and allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of 10 prescription drugs beginning in 2026, securing a major Democratic goal.
Manchin has previously suggested that Sinema “has a lot” in this bill.
“She was the one who basically negotiated, and nobody changed, the Medicare negotiations,” Manchin said. told reporters earlier this week. “She’s been very adamant about this no tax increase bill. I take that very seriously.”