Democrats are pressuring Manchin, a decisive vote, as they rush to strike a deal on their national program.

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New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has asked him for help extending federal paid time off.

House Democrat No.3 Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, and two senators from Georgia, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, have personally pleaded for him to drop his opposition to a Medicaid expansion that would help their constituents .

As Democrats scramble to find a compromise on their high-profile national priority, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III, the most outspoken dissenter to the plan and a decisive vote, has become the subject of intense lobbying from his colleagues.

In an equally divided Senate, the fate of President Biden’s national program could depend on any Democratic senator willing to withhold his vote. And while Mr Manchin isn’t the only centrist to voice his concerns, his lengthy note of details against emerging legislation has made him a popular target for lawmakers pressing to save key provisions of the rapidly shrinking plan.

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In recent days, Mr. Manchin has publicly opposed key elements of the bill, including Medicare and Medicaid extensions, a federal paid vacation program, two major climate provisions and a proposal to authorize the IRS getting data for customers’ bank accounts as part of an effort to crack down on unpaid taxes and increase revenue to pay for the package.

Mr Manchin, whose demand that the aggregate amount not exceed $ 1.5 trillion led to a frantic effort to reduce the cost of the bill, maintained he was keeping an open mind for the sake of fairness to the bill. Mr. Biden and the Democratic leaders.

Her maneuvers have sparked rumors that Mr Manchin may quit the Democratic Party soon, but he describes her as part of his political identity, regardless of affiliation.

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“Do you think having a D, an I, or an R is going to change who I am?” Mr. Manchin said at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, DC on Tuesday, “I don’t think the Rs would be happier with me than the Ds now.”

“I don’t know where the hell I belong,” he concluded, eliciting laughter from the audience.

These days, he can usually be found snuggled up with other Democrats seeking his support – or to change his mind – on some element of the social policy bill. On Monday night, it was Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, as well as Senators Tom Carper of Delaware, Maria Cantwell of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon, all seeking to reclaim a royalty on the programs of Oregon. methane to which Mr. Manchin objected.

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Democrats have good reason to woo Manchin’s support. They well remember how difficult it was to win West Virginia’s vote on the $ 1.9 trillion pandemic assistance plan passed last spring, including its last-minute efforts to reduce the amount of unemployment benefits included in the measure. (While Mr Manchin ultimately voted yes after securing the concessions he sought, the grueling negotiating session led to the longest open Senate vote in modern history.)

Seven months later, he and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona and another dodger, are similarly causing trouble for the bill if they can’t be won.

“I speak to Senator Manchin and all of my colleagues – they know that expanding Medicaid is a top priority for me,” Mr. Warnock said.

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