Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have emerged as the two most sought-after votes in the Senate, shoring up their centrist credentials at home and their power in Washington at a time when President Joe Biden is urgently seeking to pass his legislative agenda before the calendar switches to an election year.
The West Virginian and Arizonan are the least liberal Democrats in a 50-50 Senate, controlled by their party only because of Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote. That makes them a force to be reckoned with even if the Senate were to eliminate the filibuster — a procedural move they have both steadfastly opposed.
Manchin and Sinema have so far used their leverage judiciously, mostly supporting Biden’s executive and judicial branch nominees — though Manchin’s opposition effectively torpedoed Neera Tanden’s nomination to run the Office of Management and Budget — and casting the deciding vote for the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.”
But as congressional