Real Time host Bill Maher has expressed support for moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, as they face down progressives in the party in a civil war over President Joe Biden‘s multitrillion spending plans.
Maher opened his panel discussion of Friday night with journalists Matt Taibbi and Katherine Mangu-Ward by discussing the chaos on Capitol Hill between the warring Democrat factions.
Progressives are threatening to tank Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which centrists support, if the moderate faction does not also back the broader $3.5 trillion social spending bill that is packed with their priorities.
Maher noted that House progressives are ‘very mad’ at Sinema and Manchin for blocking the broader bill.
‘They’re mad at them because they’re not progressive enough — forgetting that they only got elected because they’re not progressives! They’re moderates,’ Maher said.
Real Time host Bill Maher has expressed support for moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, as they face down progressives in the party
Manchin and Sinema (seen on Thursday) are the key holdouts on Biden’s $3.5T social spending plan, and progressives are blocking a $1T infrastructure bill as leverage to get their votes
‘Here’s my question: Does spending more money make you a better person?’ Maher asked.
‘And maybe these two, Sinema and Manchin, do they might have their thumb more on the pulse on the average Democrat in the country?’ he asked.
Both Manchin, from West Virginia, and Sinema, from Arizona, won close races in 2018 in states that have Republican governors, by garnering support from independents.
Earlier, in his monologue, Maher also tackled the budget fights in DC, noting that Congress had passed an 11th hour stopgap measure on Thursday to prevent a government shutdown.
‘You’re cheering? Because we made it through ’til December 3. That’s what they did!’ Maher reacted. ‘This is the equivalent of putting duct tape on your shower nozzle until you actually call the plumber.’
‘This stupid, stupid game of chicken that they always play when a Democrat is the president and Republicans can make him look like an a**hole,’ Maher said.
‘And of course, at the last minute, Democrats had to back down. Nancy Pelosi blinked, which is itself new,’ he added.
‘Here’s my question: Does spending more money make you a better person?’ Maher asked
Biden on Friday offered to slash more than a trillion dollars from his mammoth spending bill, in an attempt to save his political agenda from warring factions in his own party.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was again forced to delay a vote on Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which the centrists support, and admitted that ‘more time is needed’ after the two sides failed to reach a deal on the broader $3.5 trillion spending package.
It was the third time the vote was delayed this week, after Pelosi previously vowed to bring the measure to the floor on Monday and Thursday, signaling a deepening stalemate even as party leaders insist progress is being made.
In a desperate bid to appease the moderate holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, Biden in private meetings on Capitol Hill pleaded with House progressives to agree to cut some $1.5 trillion from the broader bill, according to lawmakers in the room.
‘Manchin and Sinema — should we just call them co-president at this point,’ grumbled one Democrat leaving the meeting, according to The Hill. ‘Is that what it’s come down to?’
President Biden made a rare visit to Congress on Friday after his huge legislative agenda stalled a night earlier as progressives and centrists in his own party went to war
Progressives are flexing their muscles. Led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (left), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (right) they are threatening to tank Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill
In his private meeting with the House Democratic caucus, Biden told the lawmakers that ‘I know a little bit about the legislative process,’ a person familiar with the private remarks told the AP.
The president also relayed an anecdote fit for the moment, telling them that when he moved into the Oval Office, he installed pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, presidents who respectively led a ‘deeply divided country and the biggest economic transformation – and that’s just the kind of moment we’re in,’ according to Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat.
Biden spent less than an hour with House Democrats during the rare presidential visit to Capitol Hill.
As he left he appeared to concede tensions between progressives and centrists within his own party needed more than a quick bit of sweet talking if he was to save his domestic agenda.
‘It doesn’t matter if it is six minutes, six days or six weeks,’ he told reporters. ‘We are going to get it done.’