Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said he had “all the confidence in the world” that the White House and Senate Republicans could reach a compromise on a bipartisan infrastructure package in the coming days — despite a setback in talks last week between President Joe Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the GOP’s lead negotiator.
“I commend the president and Sen. Capito, my colleague from West Virginia, for continuing to work hard. They’re working hard trying to find a compromise. They’ve come a long way, and they’re moving in the right direction. We have to wait and see the outcome,” Manchin (D-W.Va.) told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think we can come to that compromise to where we’ll find a bipartisan deal,” Manchin added. “I’m very confident of that.”
The remarks from Manchin — the Senate Democrat perhaps most crucial to the success of the president’s legislative agenda — came after Biden last Friday rejected a revised counteroffer from Capito, who increased Senate Republicans’ previous proposal of $257 billion in new spending by roughly $50 billion, according to the White House.
In an earlier meeting last Wednesday, Biden had pushed Capito to support $1 trillion in new spending, after decreasing his roughly $2.3 trillion initial demand to $1.7 trillion. Biden and Capito are scheduled to speak again on Monday.
Manchin remained bullish about the state of the talks on Sunday, praising both the White House and Senate Republicans for amending their respective offers. “I still have all the confidence in the world, Chris, we’re going to get there. My goodness, the president has gone from $2.25 trillion down to $1 trillion. The Republicans have come up quite a bit from where they started,” he told Wallace.
Still, Manchin acknowledged that “we’re not there yet” and urged patience until Biden and Capito’s next conversation on Monday. “We’ll wait. We’ll talk to Sen. Capito after those meetings. We’ll talk to the White House. And we think we can find a pathway forward. We’re not that far apart,” he said.