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Discord within US Democrats threatens to shatter infrastructure bargain

This picture shows Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as he leaves a Democratic luncheon at the US Capitol on October 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US Democratic lawmakers have reached an obstacle threatening to ruin a bargain made with the Republicans on the massive spending bill.

Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) refusal to give his backing to the Biden administration’s climate agenda plunged the infrastructure and social spending bill into an abyss.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) had planned to gain approval for Biden’s agenda, which Republicans rejected, in exchange for all the Democratic lawmakers showing their support for the hard infrastructure bill that he and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had negotiated with the GOP.

Despite the approval of Manchin’s infrastructure bill, including billions of dollars in new money for West Virginia’s projects such as the Appalachian Development Highway System, by the Senate, he is still not signing on to the climate investments that are a key demand of progressive Democrats.

Republicans were opposed to the massive spending bill and Democrats were trying to pass it through a budgetary process called reconciliation.

This process, however, would require a "yes" vote from every Democratic Senator.

Two of them, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, remain opposed to it.

While progressive Democratic lawmakers want to wait until there is agreement on the sweeping $3.5 trillion bill to bolster social spending and fight climate change, moderate Democrats prefer an immediate vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives that has already passed the Senate.

Also, the reconciliation bill, which has been pinned to an infrastructure package in the legislative process, is disputed by the Republicans.

Many of the Republican lawmakers, who had supported the infrastructure bill, are now opposed to it.

Meanwhile, climate activists protesting to Manchin's decision to reject the bill are staging a rally in front of the White House.

Climate activists belonging to the group Shutdown DC stage a protest at The Wharf near Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) yacht on October 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The activists will fast in front of the White House to demand Congress to pass the reconciliation bill’s climate measures.

Manchin's refusal might kill the reconciliation bill.

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