The White House, not surprisingly, has a different interpretation on how discussions have been going. “We’ve tried to meet Republicans on their requests, and they keep moving the goal posts,” one official told the Washington Post. Another, spokesperson Kevin Munoz, went on the record. “Going back to January, we’ve been working with members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, on the funding needs for the covid response,” he said in a statement. “We’ve also been crystal clear about the consequences of a lack of funding … including the very real possibility that we would have to reevaluate the planned uses of existing funds.”
There’s one more potential win for the White House—not to mention all the people at risk of catching COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months—Republicans are cynically blocking. It’s nearly as egregious as what they’ve been doing on guns.
All of that puts this in a “we’ll believe when we sit it” mood. “Senate Democrats are preparing for possible summer action on their still-elusive climate, tax reform and prescription drugs bill, grinding behind the scenes on a new version during high-profile gun safety talks.” Because it’s Manchin, once again, that all this is hinging on and Republicans are on the verge of declaring that partisan Democrats have destroyed any hope of gun safety regulation with their unreasonable demands that guns be kept out of the hands of people who have been convicted of violence.
That sets up Manchin to declare that the Democrats have been horrible partisans and he just can’t continue to work with them. He’s used far flimsier excuses before, like the fact that the White House included his name in a statement about Build Back Better. That’s what blew up the whole package last December, supposedly. It likely wouldn’t take anything more for Manchin to do it again.
Republicans are counting on that.