Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., reiterated Thursday that she will not support a $3.5 trillion spending bill, in the latest sign of discord among key Democrats as President Biden scrambles to rally support for his signature piece of legislation.
"Senator Sinema said publicly more than two months ago, before Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion," Sinema’s office said in a statement shared on her Twitter account. "In August, she shared detailed concerns and priorities, including dollar figures, directly with Senate Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer and the White House. Claims that the Senator has not detailed her views to President Biden and Senator Schumer are false."
Biden has personally met with Sinema and fellow moderate Democrat holdout Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on multiple occasions this week to negotiate an agreement on the spending bill. With a razor-thin majority, Biden needs every Senate Democrat to support his bill for it to pass.
Earlier Thursday, Manchin said he would not support a spending bill with a topline number larger than $1.5 trillion.
Sinema’s latest statement followed criticism from prominent progressives who say moderate opponents to the full spending bill have not been clear on their priorities. Critics included Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., one of many progressives who will not vote to approve the $1.2 trillion bipartisan physical infrastructure deal unless the Senate first passes a spending bill focused on social programs.
"We need to know what he’s a skeptic on so that we can have the conversation with him. There has been no clarity in what they actually want, both Sinema and Manchin," Omar told the Washington Post.
The statement from Sinema’s office added that Biden and Schumer "are fully aware of Senator Sinema’s priorities, concerns and ideas."
"While we do not negotiate through the press – because Senator Sinema respects the integrity of those direct negotiations – she continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions with both President Biden and Senator Schumer to find common ground," the statement said.