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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is telling colleagues that progressives need to pick just one of President Biden’s three signature policies for helping working families and discard the other two, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: By forcing progressives to choose among an expanded child tax credit, paid family medical leave or subsidies for child care, Manchin is complicating any potential deal— but also signaling his willingness to negotiate.

  • He's also aligning himself with Democratic centrists in the House, who want to trim the number of programs in any final package but fund them for longer.
  • Progressives are hopeful they can retain all of their cherished programs in a final bill by funding many of them for shorter durations and therefore lower the bill's ultimate price tag.
  • Manchin’s office declined to comment to Axios.

The big picture: While President Biden has scaled back his top-line number from $3.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion, Manchin stressed on Wednesday that his price cap remains at $1.5 trillion, a position aggravating Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

  • Sanders, a leading progressive, separately told reporters there are “48 senators who support $3.5 trillion; we have two people who don't,” referring to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
  • "It is wrong, it is really not playing fair,” Sanders said. "Two people do not have a right to sabotage what 48 want."
  • "The time is long overdue for him to tell us with specificity — not generalities, we're beyond generalities — with specificity, what he wants and what he does not want, and to explain that to the people of West Virginia and America,” Sanders said.
  • Manchin's private demand for progressive prioritization tracks with his public concern that simply trimming a program's duration doesn’t accurately capture its true overall cost.

By the numbers: The president has proposed extending the expanded, $3,600-per- child tax credit, which he funded for one year in the American Rescue Plan, for another four years. That would cost some $450 billion.

  • The costs for providing paid family medical leave vary wildly. The White House proposed $225 billion over 10 years in April, yet the House Ways and Means Committee priced it last month at $500 billion.
  • For Biden’s child and infant care proposals, which include subsidies for poor and middle-class families for day care and two years of universal preschool, the House wants to spend $450 billion.

Between the lines: Manchin is actually comfortable with federal funding for universal preschool, which is already available in his home state, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

  • He views the child and infant care proposals as a separate program.

Go deeper: While concerns about inflation, and Manchin's fear of seeding an "entitlement society," are driving his opposition to spending more than $1.5 trillion, he’s open to higher taxes on corporations and individuals to pay for that spending.

  • On Wednesday, he repeated his support to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug rates directly with pharmaceutical companies, which has long been a goal of progressives like Sanders.
  • “It makes no sense at all that we don’t go out and negotiate. The VA does a tremendous job," Manchin told reporters.

Go deeper

Biden nominates Shalanda Young as budget director

Office of Management and Budget acting director Shalanda Young during a Senate hearing in June 2021. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday nominated Shalanda Young to head the Office of Management and Budget permanently. She has served as acting director since March.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the Senate, Young would be the first Black woman to permanently lead the office, which has gone without a confirmed director for months after Biden's first nominee, Neera Tanden, withdrew her nomination because of opposition from several senators from both parties.

30 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.