Lawmakers from both parties are vying for centrist Sen. Joe Manchin‘s (D-West Virginia) support in President Joe Biden‘s social spending agenda ahead of the midterm elections.

Manchin killed Biden’s $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Bill back in December citing concerns about rising inflation and the national debt.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has made a large effort to work with Manchin in putting forward a budget bill focused on climate change and lowering prescription drug prices. Meanwhile, some of Manchin’s West Virginia constituents are urging him to reject increased tax rates that would be needed to carry out the Democrats’ plan.

Manchin has said he will accept a narrow version of the initiatives Schumer is focused on and that he’ll only support a version that doesn’t contribute to inflation. Manchin’s sway in the Senate is likely in its last months as the Republicans could pick up seats in November.

Republican lawmakers have focused on bringing other issues, like gun control, to Manchin’s attention in an effort to stall talks with Schumer.

For Manchin, being the most conservative Democrat in the Senate has won him power but has also made him subject to heavy criticism from liberals. On Tuesday, Warren Gunnels, a senior aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), called Manchin a “phony” in response to the senator’s tweet about lowing prescription drug prices.

“What a phony. THE reason we failed to keep our promises to seniors is because
[Joe Manchin] sabotaged the Build Back Better Act & refuses to end the filibuster,” Gunnels said. “In Joe’s world, protecting the filibuster is more important than protecting seniors. No wonder billionaires love him.”

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