White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not say whether moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have given the administration a topline number that would be acceptable to them for the economic package, a key holdup to any movement on President Biden’s agenda.
“I would point you again to Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin,” Psaki said at Wednesday’s White House press briefing when asked if the duo has given the President a firm number to help move negotiations forward. “We knew that it would be a compromise, and that's exactly what it is. And as you know, the President has spent a great bit of time, relatively so, but given nothing more precious than the time of the President of the United States over the last two days engaging with each of these senators about the path forward. But I would leave it to them to describe what they're comfortable with."
Psaki declined to weigh in on a topline number multiple times throughout the briefing, passing the question off to the senators to announce what they are comfortable with.
When asked if the White House was frustrated that it doesn’t know where the senators' bottom line is, Psaki said that the administration doesn’t have the luxury of getting frustrated.
In response to a comment Speaker Nancy Pelosi made earlier Wednesday saying she hopes to see legislative text on the larger Build Back Better Act agreed to before a key Thursday vote, Psaki said the administration is working in lockstep with the speaker and has confidence in her leadership of the Democratic caucus.
“We certainly trust Speaker Pelosi. We're working in lockstep and around the clock to get both of these pieces of legislation done,” she said.