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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, on Wednesday insisted that the Democrats' budget proposal should remain at $3.5 trillion, dismissing calls from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for a lower number.

Driving the news: Manchin has warned the White House and Congress leadership that he has concerns about the proposal and is willing to support as little as $1 trillion of it. His vote is crucial in the 50-50 Senate.

  • At most, the West Virginia senator is open to supporting $1.5 trillion, sources told Axios' Hans Nichols.

What they're saying: "That $3.5 trillion is already the result of a major, major compromise and at the very least this bill should contain $3.5 trillion," Sanders said in a call with reporters.

  • Sanders said that an "overwhelming majority" of the Budget Committee members supported his original $6 trillion bill, adding that he still believes more than $3.5 trillion is necessary.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also addressed the issue, saying that "it is our intention to have every part of the Biden plan in a big and robust way."

Schumer rejected Manchin's call for a "strategic pause," saying: "We're moving full speed ahead. We want to keep moving forward. We think getting this done is so important to the American people ... We are moving forward with this bill"

  • Catch up quick: Manchin had called for the pause to "provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic," adding that it will also "allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not."

Between the lines: With a 50-50 split Senate, Manchin's doubts on the bill mean that the budget for President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda are in danger of dying this Congress.

Go deeper: Scoop: Manchin backs as little as $1 trillion of Biden's $3.5 trillion plan

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats fail to deliver year-end Build Back Better deal

Sen. Joe Manchin walking through the Capitol basement on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats will conclude the year without delivering on President Biden's top priority: his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better agenda.

Why it matters: As predictable as that outcome may have been, it still has consequences for the party. Beyond the political ramifications of failing to meet a promised deadline, the chief concern is that dragging out negotiations will result in a smaller package during a midterm year — or no package at all.

Top Senate Dem "frustrated and disappointed" by Manchin

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters on Thursday that he is "stunned" by Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) opposition to a one-year extension of the child tax credit included in the Build Back Better deal.

What he's saying: Durbin said he was "frustrated and disappointed" because it seems unlikely that the legislation will be headed to President Biden's desk soon. "We missed an opportunity, but I'm not giving up."

Parliamentarian rejects Dems' immigration provisions for 3rd time

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats got another "no" from the parliamentarian on Thursday for their latest plan to provide protections for undocumented immigrants in the $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure bill, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Why it matters: Democrats have promised to pursue immigration reform through legislation that's also focused on expanding the social safety net and addressing climate change. But it's unclear if there is a remaining pathway.