Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is in the driver’s seat and letting liberal Democrats in the House and Senate know that he plans to set the terms for the budget reconciliation bill that they hope to use to enact President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.

Manchin’s announcement Thursday that he won’t support any reconciliation bill costing more than $1.5 trillion served as a rude awakening to Democratic progressives who thought he could support a number much closer to the $3.5 trillion goal set by the Senate- and House-passed budgets.

The timing of his announcement was especially enraging to progressives as it came hours before the House was set to vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was supposed to be passed in tandem with the reconciliation package as part of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) two-track strategy.

By declaring that his top-line limit would be $1.5 trillion — a full $2 trillion less than the number he voted for in the Senate budget resolution last month — Manchin made it clear that the reconciliation bill isn’t passing anytime soon.... Read More: The Hill