Both Republicans and Democrats are desperately trying to get the support of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for pieces of legislation they want to see passed through Congress before the midterm elections, which could strip Democrats of their congressional majorities.
According to The Hill, Manchin is a "must have" vote for Democrats to get any piece of President Joe Biden's failed $2.4 trillion Build Back Better spending agenda that Manchin effectively killed in the fall by saying he would vote "no" on the package in the Senate.
Part of the persuading includes Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pressing Manchin to support smaller elements of the plan, including climate change and lower prescription drug prices.
"If [Manchin] gets something within the parameters as he's discussed it, I think he is a possible 'yes,'" Mike Plante, a West Virginia-based Democratic strategist, told The Hill. "Obviously, we're running out of time here."
Manchin's vote in the Senate is required for Democrats to reach a 50-50 tie with Republicans so that Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote and get any legislation across the finish line.
"It's got to be something that comports with his view of what's appropriate. I don't think there's a lot of wiggle room for Joe Manchin on what he would find acceptable," Plante said. "I think there's a very narrow path on that. It would have to be something that dealt with prescription drugs, climate, deficit reduction, and didn't contribute to inflation."
Manchin was elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving four years as governor of the staunchly red state, according to his official Senate biography.
According to a report from Axios Thursday, Manchin had been in talks with Republicans about energy policy, but those talks ended unsuccessfully, forcing him to team up with Schumer for a budget reconciliation type of legislation that can pass without GOP support.
"These talks had been a long shot to begin with," Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told Axios. "Manchin informed us in the last meeting that reconciliation is probably the route he's going down."
In addition to energy and climate change, Manchin said Tuesday that lowering drug prices must be a priority for Congress.
"Drug pricing is something we all agree on," Business Insider reported he said at a West Virginia AARP event on Tuesday. "If we do nothing else this year — I think we can do a lot more — but if we do nothing more this year, that's the one thing that must be done."
The Democrats are pushing to give Medicare the ability to negotiate prices with drug companies in the same way the Veterans Administration has been able to do, the report said.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.