KEY POINTS

  • The kayakers said they need Manchin “to stand” with them for the massive spending bill
  • An immigration activist urged Sinema to do something for a “pathway to citizenship”
  • Manchin and Sinema have said they will not support the package due to its price tag

Protesters confronted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., two centrist Democrats who have balked at supporting a Democrat-led $3.5 trillion social spending bill, which is one of President Joe Biden's legislative priorities, arguing for a lower top line number and infuriating the party's left flank.

The group of kayakers yelled as Manchin stood at the back of his houseboat, Fox News reported. “Senator, this is an investment. This is not giving out money, this is not spending, this is building the state that we both love!” one kayaker yelled. The kayaker added that they were “fighting for our people.”

In a video of the encounter, Manchin can be seen leaning over, as if taking time to listen to the kayaker’s concerns. “We need you to stand with us,” the kayaker says as other people from the group cheer her on. The West Virginia senator then said he appreciates the kayakers and calmly notes that some of his houseboat neighbors complained of the disruption caused by the protest.

In another video, Manchin can be seen responding to the protesters. “We're going to continue to in good faith. I really want to get a good bill that's a balanced bill, that's well done. And I know it won't be enough for some. It will be too much for others in West Virginia,” he said.

The kayakers mentioned several policies they would like addressed, with Manchin agreeing to their comments. However, the senator pointed out that in addressing Medicare expansion, the program’s solvency should be handled first.

Meanwhile, protesters also went for Sen. Sinema as the evenly divided U.S. senate continues to discuss the bill. Immigration activists followed her from the classroom where she was teaching at the Arizona State University to the bathroom as they demanded her support for the trillion-dollar bill and President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. 

“Just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us,” a female activist told Sinema after the senator locked herself up in a bathroom stall.

In a video of the confrontation that has been viewed on Twitter for more than three million times, the female activist, who identified herself as Blanca, said “in 2010 my grandparents both got deported because of SB1070,” adding that her “grandfather passed away two weeks ago, and I was not able to go to Mexico and visit him because there is no pathway to citizenship.”

Manchin and Sinema have been dubbed by the media as the “Manchinema,” and while they both refuse to back the $3.5 trillion package largely due to its price tag, both have voted in favor of a separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Manchin reiterated earlier last month that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “will not have my vote” on the massive spending bill, while Sinema’s spokesperson John Labombard said in August that the Arizona senator will “not support” the reconciliation bill.

The White House needs Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, to support the bill Sen. Joe Manchin said Monday that he will not back U.S. President Joe Biden's social spending package unless it is reviewed further, calling for a vote on the infrastructure bill instead. Photo: POOL / Sarah Silbiger