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Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Photos: Drew Angerer; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Dana Bash's back-to-back interviews with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this morning on CNN tell you everything you need to know about how far apart these key Democrats remain on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package and infrastructure spending.

Remember: In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats must be unanimous for their plan to pass. But Manchin wants to spend no more than $1.5 trillion.

What they're saying:

Manchin: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer "will not have my vote on $3.5 [trillion] and Chuck knows this. … What’s the urgency?”

Sanders: $1.5 trillion "is absolutely not acceptable to me. I don't think it's acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus."

Watch the interviews here and here.

Go deeper

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.

Dems' immigration plan hits major roadblock

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday that Democrats cannot include pathways to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, per a copy of the ruling obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's a blow to Democrats who hoped to provide pathways for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using reconciliations would have allowed them to pass politically contentious immigration changes with only 50 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required.

Sep 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats propose raising debt ceiling through midterms

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House and Senate leadership announced on Monday that they plan to attach a proposal to raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 2022 to a short-term, government funding bill. The bill must pass before the end of the month or Congress risks a shutdown.

Why it matters: Democrats are taking a huge risk by trying to force through an increase of the debt limit in its must-pass funding bill. The move is wishful thinking on behalf of Democrats who are hoping they can get at least 10 centrist Republicans to balk, as well as an effort to put Republicans on record opposing it.