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Bernie unloads on Manchin- POLITICO


With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

Like a lot of Democrats, Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) has been holding back for weeks while he waited to see if Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER could land a deal on taxes and climate with Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.).

The deal collapsed this week when Manchin refused to back any new tax hikes or spending on climate in the latest version of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill. This morning on ABC’s “This Week,” Sanders spoke for a lot of progressives when he unleashed this attack on Manchin:

“[Manchin] has sabotaged the president’s agenda. No, look, if you check the record, six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin, [KYRSTEN] SINEMA to a lesser degree, who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic Caucus want. Nothing new about this. And the problem was that we continue to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not. This is a guy who is [a] major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires …

“In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”

HOW IT HAPPENED — The deal unraveled when Manchin once again made vague promises that he might agree to tax and climate policies once he had more information about where the economy was headed.

The view from Manchin world, via a person close to the senator: “There were a couple of months of earnest and well-intentioned negotiations. But their time perspectives even before the inflation numbers came out were never aligned. Schumer kept leaking that there was progress when there really hadn’t been that much progress and they were on a different calendar.

“But when the 9.1% inflation number was released Manchin just said to Schumer, ‘Why can’t we wait a month to see if the numbers come down structurally? How do you pour $1 trillion on that tempo with inflation? Don’t we have to see what the Fed will do with rates and how big the impact will be on the labor force? How can you put out new taxes on firms at the moment they’re getting hit by higher rates from the Fed?’ I think he wanted to get those questions answered and wanted 30 to 45 days to see what the baseline in the economy was.”

This person added, “Schumer doesn’t have the patience for Manchin anymore and was unwilling to wait until September, and so they made a choice to drop all that stuff.”

The view from Schumer world is that waiting without any actual commitments from Manchin would have been delusional, given Manchin’s history over the last 18 months. “For the first time in the entire discussion around reconciliation,” said a Democratic source with knowledge of the negotiations, “Manchin said, ‘I am ready to vote yes on something’ AND he gave a timeline (August). That’s why the question comes down to if Dems take the bird in the hand or roll the dice in September.”

Manchin has repeatedly said waiting a little longer might yield a different result. The “contract” he signed with Schumer last year, when Manchin was worried about being jammed in the summer of 2021, asked for a debate on reconciliation after Oct. 1. He retreated from the talks in December over what the White House viewed as a minor miscommunication. It took months to engage him seriously again.

Even before Wednesday’s inflation report and pulling the plug on the climate and tax negotiations, Manchin withdrew support for the Medicare solvency tax hike in the reconciliation bill that Democrats thought he backed. Locking in the two health care-related pieces Manchin endorsed, prescription drug pricing reform and an extension of Affordable Care Act premium support, seemed like a no-brainer.

Unlike Sanders, Schumer and the White House are not attacking Manchin. They want to move past him and emphasize the victory achieved rather than what was lost. A reconciliation bill that lowers prescription drug prices and extends subsidies to millions of Americans who rely on the ACA will be one of the largest health care bills passed in a long time.

Related reading:“As the Planet Cooks, Climate Stalls as a Political Issue,” by NYT’s Jonathan Weisman and Jazmine Ulloa: “Joe Manchin’s rejection of a compromise climate bill tells a familiar story: Voters and politicians put a higher premium on immediate issues, such as inflation and the economy, giving politicians a pass on global warming.”

Good Sunday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

TOP-EDS: A roundup of the week’s must-read opinion pieces.

President JOE BIDEN and the Middle East …

Ben Rhodes in The Atlantic: “Why No One Believes American Rhetoric About Democracy”

Walter Russell Mead in the WSJ: “Can Biden Correct Obama’s Mistakes in the Middle East?”

Max Boot in WaPo: “Cut Biden some slack. U.S. presidents have to deal with dictators.”

Karen Attiah in WaPo: “Biden’s fist bump with MBS was a crass betrayal”

Inflation …

Ezra Klein in the NYT: “Inflation Has Unmasked the Depths of Our Affordability Crisis”

Perry Bacon Jr. in WaPo: “Is the Democrats’ problem Biden or inflation?”

Politics …

David Brooks in the NYT: “A 2024 Presidential Candidate Who Meets the Moment”

Henry Olsen in WaPo: “Gavin Newsom likely isn’t the answer Democrats are looking for”

Ruy Teixeira: “Working Class and Hispanic Voters Are Losing Interest in the Party of Abortion, Gun Control and the January 6th Hearings”

Ronald Brownstein for CNN: “This may be Democrats’ only chance to blunt a red wave in November”

Michael Allen in the WSJ: “Will the GOP Abandon Ukraine?”

SUNDAY BEST …

— Rep. ELANIE LURIA (D-Va.) on the next Jan. 6 committee primetime hearing, on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “There’s other witnesses we’ve spoken to who have yet to appear in our previous hearings, who will add a lot of value and information to events of that critical time on Jan. 6 … people who were in the White House, people close to the president … There will definitely be people included in the hearing who we have not heard from so far.”

— Rep. ADAM KINZINGER (R-Ill.) on the committee’s work, on CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “This investigation is not winding down.”

— Arizona Gov. DOUG DUCEY, co-chair of the Republican Governors Association, on whether the RGA will support DOUG MASTRIANO in Pennsylvania, on “State of the Union”: “Nov. 8 is a long way off. So we will be looking at this map. We will be looking at the resources we have. And we don’t know what September and October are going to hold.”

BIDEN’S SUNDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ SUNDAY — The VP has nothing on her public schedule.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

9 THINGS FOR YOUR RADAR

1. THE PLOT AGAINST DEMOCRACY: The conservative lawyer WILLIAM OLSON played a heretofore unreported role in trying to convince DONALD TRUMP to subvert the 2020 election, urging him toward extreme ideas like firing the acting A.G., NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater reveal. Now representing MIKE LINDELL, Olson wrote a memo in December 2020 that shows he “was discussing with Mr. Trump the notion that the Justice Department would intercede with the Supreme Court to reverse his electoral defeat.” He noted that the press would likely frame the steps he was encouraging as akin to “martial law.”

More Jan. 6 news: The Justice Department investigation into the attempt to overturn the election is growing in staff, space and remit, WSJ’s Sadie Gurman, Aruna Viswanatha and Alexa Corse report. … But DOJ still has hundreds more Jan. 6 arrests yet to make, as it’s “only a fraction of the way through one of the largest investigations in American history,” reports NBC’s Ryan Reilly.

2. POTUS ABROAD: Biden returned late Saturday from his controversial Middle East trip to press coverage that was at times outright critical. Reuters declared that the president “failed to secure commitments to a regional security axis that would include Israel or an immediate oil output rise” and that other than the promise of better U.S.-Saudi relations, “the U.S. leader left the kingdom on Saturday with few big successes and doubts as to whether the visit was worth it.” On Saudi oil, Bloomberg reports that “[t]he payoff may be months away — if it comes at all.” ABC adds that Biden is running out of moves on Iran.

Other coverage was a bit more mixed. Our colleagues Alex Ward and Jonathan Lemire write that Biden suffered a reputational hit and downplayed U.S. values to secure “historic agreements to bring Jerusalem and Riyadh closer together, a crown prince seemingly more open to ending the war in Yemen and a renewed push to solve the intractable conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.” NYT’s David Sanger and Peter Baker highlight the importance of the trip for U.S. great power competition against China and Russia. And the WSJ notes that Biden’s playing the long game. By the way: Biden told reporters that Saudi officials weren’t telling the truth about his JAMAL KHASHOGGI comments to Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN.

Related read: “The Daily Show meets Riyadh! How one giant PR firm is pitching the Saudis,” by Hailey Fuchs: “To help Saudi Arabia repair its image, Edelman advised a mix of celebrities, music festivals and comedy central.”

3. REALITY CHECK: Though drop boxes for ballots have become Republican boogeymen in the past couple of years, a new AP poll of election officials finds that “[t]he expanded use of drop boxes for mailed ballots during the 2020 election did not lead to any widespread problems,” with “no cases of fraud, vandalism or theft that could have affected the results,” write Anthony Izaguirre and Christina Cassidy. It’s another big AP investigation laying down a fact-based marker against election conspiracy theories.

4. PRIMARY COLORS — An interesting Maryland House GOP primary this week will pit MATTHEW FOLDI, a 25-year-old Washington Free Beacon alum, against NEIL PARROTT, the 2020 nominee against Democratic Rep. DAVID TRONE. Foldi has landed the backing of DONALD TRUMP JR., Gov. LARRY HOGAN and House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY — but in the district, some local Republicans are skeptical of the novice, Sarah Ferris reports from Walkersville. Foldi has “spent much of the race so far trolling” Trone, who could face a tougher fight this year in a GOP-leaning environment and under the seat’s new borders.

More Maryland reads: “Unpredictable Maryland Governor’s Race Pits Old Guard vs. Upstarts,” NYT … “Maryland Dems eager to break GOP’s hold on governor’s office,” AP

ICYMI: A Casper Star-Tribune poll Friday of the Wyoming House GOP primary, “the first independent, public, in-state poll” in the race, found HARRIET HAGEMAN trouncing Rep. LIZ CHENEY 52% to 30%, per Victoria Eavis.

5. FRIENDLY FIRE: Young Democrats are struggling to maintain support and enthusiasm for their party, WaPo’s Danielle Paquette reports from North Carolina. Even engaged college Dems are feeling frustrated by inaction and politicians’ fundraising appeals. And if party leaders think the end of Roe v. Wade might be the boost Dems need to spur turnout in November, think again: “In interviews with The Washington Post, however, ten college Democrats in North Carolina described a mixed impact: yes, more of their peers are ready to fight back — but more are furious with the Democrats.”

Related read: “Biden’s realism approach runs head-on into liberal pressure,” by AP’s Seung Min Kim

6. FIRST LADY FILES: Biden “had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment,” first lady JILL BIDEN said Saturday at a DNC fundraiser on Nantucket, CNN’s Kate Bennett reports. Biden defended her husband’s tenure, criticizing congressional Republicans for obstruction and arguing that the White House has had to handle tons of unexpected challenges. Biden also said she plans to meet with Ukrainian first lady OLENA ZELENSKA this week.

7. WHAT HARRIS IS UP TO: The Boston Globe’s Tal Kopan chronicles what this moment means for Harris as she steps into more of a leadership role on abortion. Advocates say the VP is “exactly the leader needed at a perilous time,” though “Harris has a difficult task before her, trying to organize and satisfy a demanding coalition of elected officials and activists facing steep odds of restoring abortion rights nationwide.”

Harris is hitting the road more often to advocate for abortion rights now, including in Philadelphia on Saturday, when she “cast the outcome of Pennsylvania’s November elections as a crucial inflection point that could determine whether the nation’s government heads down a path of restricting or expanding civil rights,” reports the Philly Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck.

8. ABORTION FALLOUT: From the National Governors Association meeting in Portland, Maine, NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports that abortion is making it increasingly difficult for governors to cast themselves as above partisan food fights, as the end of Roe forces state leaders to take sides. “Abortion did not come up at all in the governors’ public events. And several governors said the same was true for their private meetings, with one acknowledging privately that even bringing up the issue would probably be counterproductive and risk derailing the bipartisan discussions.”

Top talkers: The AP and WaPo have a pair of stories up about abortion restrictions affecting other types of pregnancy and medical care, including a buzzy anecdote in the AP story about a Texas patient who had to be put on a breathing machine because doctors couldn’t intervene with an abortion when she started to have a dangerous miscarriage. And NYT’s Dana Goldstein and Ava Sasani report that the recent story of the Ohio 10-year-old lays bare an uncomfortable reality: There are thousands of pregnancies annually in American girls under 15, with close to half leading to abortions.

9. CASH DASH: In the Pennsylvania Senate race, JOHN FETTERMAN’s money advantage over MEHMET OZ is powered by a gusher of small-dollar donations: The Democratic lieutenant governor pulled in $5.1 million from those contributions between April 28 and June 30, while they gave Oz $153,000, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Julian Routh. Meanwhile, “Mr. Fetterman spent almost twice as much as Mr. Oz in the second quarter, $6.3 million to $3.4 million.”

Ted Cruz reiterated that he thinks the Supreme Court legalization of same-sex marriage was “clearly wrong.”

Alan Dershowitz is feeling excluded from the Martha’s Vineyard Jewish Democrats.

OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at Josh Dawsey’s birthday party Saturday night at St. Vincent: John Hudson, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tammy Haddad, Marc Adelman, John McCarthy, Matea Gold, Adam Goldman, Allison Hoffman, Ted Mann, Wes Lowery, Devlin Barrett, Roz Helderman, Juliet Eilperin, Shane Harris, Michael Scherer, Theo Meyer, Chris Hartline, Eli Yokley, Evan Hollander, James Adams, Kate Sullivan, Matt Zapotosky, Catherine Valentine, Zach Cohen, Michael Ahrens, Richard Walters, Jeff Solnet, Meridith McGraw, Matt Gorman, Lachlan Markay, T.W. Arrighi, Christopher Jerrolds, Dave Weigel, Jesse Hunt, Jonathan Kott, Jeff Zeleny, Jasmine Yunus, Caroline Kitchener and Jonathan Martin.

BIRTHWEEK (was Saturday): Virginia’s Duncan McGaan (28)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) … Josh Barro … EPA’s Jon Monger … DOT’s Dani SimonsOpal Vadhan … CNBC’s Kayla TauscheEmma Loop … Morning Consult’s Kyle Dropp and Jessica Cuellar Ben ShannonKatherine Smith … Reuters’ Mike StoneKathy “Coach” Kemper … POLITICO’s Carolina Pereda Pieri Garcia, David Hackney and Alba Perez Rosales Ben DeutschRoz Leighton … NBC’s Christine Haughney Dare-Bryan … WaPo’s Katie ZezimaChris BukiChris Berardi … former U.S. Treasurer Rosie RiosCurt MillsMarnie FunkBarbara Boland … Bloomberg’s Caitlin O’Connell Fitchette Seth BringmanMorgan Routman of Rep. Lois Frankel’s (D-Fla.) office (26) … DHS’ Michael Presutti … Accenture’s Stephanie Anderson Susan Kennedy … Clout Public Affairs’ Catherine Frazier

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Correction: Saturday’s Playbook misspelled Abby Phillip’s name.





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