President Joe Biden met with two centrist Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), to discuss his administration’s $3.5 trillion social spending bill.

The president had a meeting with Sinema on Wednesday morning and spoke with Manchin later the day, according to people familiar with the situation. 

The two senators are blocking the way of Democrats’ goal of passing its $3.5 trillion budget, the Biden administration’s most ambitious bill that comprises social programs, climate action and other sweeping welfare plans.

“Today’s meeting was productive, and Kyrsten is continuing to work in good faith with her colleagues and President Biden as this legislation develops,” Sinema’s spokesperson said later the day.

In order to pass the budget reconciliation bill, the Democratic party needs a simple majority in the Senate. Since both Democratic and Republican parties currently hold 50 seats, Democrats need these two centrists to be on their side in order to pass the package.

Manchin was especially outspoken about this bill, claiming that it is too expensive and that he will not support it during the Senate vote if it maintains a $3.5 trillion prictetag.

“I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending, without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on existing government programs,” Manchin wrote in a recent editorial. “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation.” 

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