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Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that Democrats "need to stabilize" Medicare before expanding the program, The Hill reports.

Why it matters: Progressives are hoping to expand Medicare through a broad social spending bill, which Democratic senators have urged Manchin to support. Manchin's vote is critical in passing any Democratic bill in the 50-50 Senate.

  • House Democrats' $3.5 trillion plan currently includes a provision to expand Medicare to cover hearing, vision and dental health.

What he's saying: "By 2026, you understand the trust fund is going to be insolvent," he told reporters as he left the Capitol on Thursday.

  • "I want to make sure we are stabilizing what we have before we start going down this expansion role."

The big picture: Senate Democrats have not introduced their version of the spending bill, though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has thrown his support behind the plan.

  • Disagreements remain on key issues including clean energy and how to pay for the bill, per The Hill.
  • Manchin is privately saying he thinks Congress should take a "strategic pause" until 2022 before voting on the $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Worth noting: Moderate Democrats like Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) have said they prioritize shoring up the ACA before expanding Medicare, according to the Washington Post.

Go deeper

19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.

Vote fight draws Kennedy, MLK kin

Martin Luther King III speaks at a rally near the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Martin Luther King III, Joe Kennedy III and other prominent figures have raised more than $1 million from small, daily donations to fight voting restrictions in a handful of Republican-controlled states.

Why it matters: Decades after the 1960s civil rights movement, two of its most prominent legacies — the King and Kennedy families — are still fighting to expand voting access. Nineteen states have enacted 33 new laws this year adding hurdles for some voters.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.