Manchin-Schumer deal clears major hurdle but could face obstacles before reaching finish line: The Note

Senate Democrats are up against the August recess and an uptick in COVID.

July 29, 2022, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Averi Harper

A deal may be struck between Sens. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer but there is still a ways to go before President Joe Biden can sign on the dotted line.

Senate Democrats are not only up against the deadline of August recess and an uptick in COVID cases that could keep senators from being able to vote on their chamber’s floor, but also a familiar foe— a possible holdout within their caucus.

“It will require us to stick together and work long days and nights for the next 10 days. We will need to be disciplined in our messaging and focus. It will be hard. But I believe we can get this done,” Schumer reportedly told members of his caucus.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema refused to answer questions from ABC Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott about if she backs the plan that aims to tackle climate change, decrease healthcare costs, change the tax code and lower the deficit.

Senator Joe Manchin attends a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 19, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Despite that uncertainty—and the fact that Manchin emphasized that the commander-in-chief wasn’t involved in negotiations—Biden gave remarks celebrating the deal which includes items central to his agenda.

“This bill will reduce inflationary pressures on the economy. This bill will, in fact, reduce inflationary pressure on the economy. It's a bill that costs, it will cut your cost of living and reduce inflation, it lowers the deficit. It strengthens our economy in the long run as well,” Biden said.

This deal falls short of Biden’s initial $2 trillion Build Back Better which included affordable childcare, housing, college, health care. But if the legislation provides relief for Americans enduring rising costs, it could offer Democrats a major victory as they make their case to voters ahead of midterm elections.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington,, July 28, 2022.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talks to reporters about the expansive agreement reached with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that they had sought for months on health care, energy and climate issues, and taxes on higher earners and corporations at the Capitol in Washington,, July 28, 2022.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

A different "MAGA" movement is bursting out of this year's Texas gubernatorial race, as the political action committee, Mothers Against Greg Abbott, targets a broad range of policies driven by the state's incumbent Republican governor.

The group's most recent ad has gone viral for its broad criticism of Texas' restrictive abortion laws that caused shockwaves prior to the reversal of Roe v. Wade by banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, at which point most women may not know they are pregnant.

In the ad, actors depicting expecting parents are faced with a tragic assessment from their doctor who says, "your baby has a catastrophic brain abnormality" and if carried to term, would suffer greatly before dying hours after birth. The doctor goes on to tell the parents they will need to make a decision on termination, but despite the difficulty involved with the choice, he adds, "there is only one person who can make this choice."

"And that person is Greg," he concludes to the parents' audible disbelief as the ad pivots to a satirical tone.

Since its release on Monday, the ad received more than seven million views across Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. ABC News' did not immediately receive a response to a request for comment from Gov. Greg Abbott's campaign.

Despite its moniker, the group does not appear to be tying itself to Abbott's opponent, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke who favors pro-abortion policies. Instead, the PAC says it is "a bipartisan, diverse group of Texans who are ready to work together for change for Texas."

"We've just spent years trusting male politicians with our rights — and they failed us. So, it's time for us women and just regular, you know, moms out there […] and female politicians just to stand up and fight for our own rights. I mean, the male politicians are not going to come see us. It's up to us to stand up and fight for our rights and the time is now," the group's founder, Nancy Thompson, said in a recent MSNBC interview.

The TIP with Brittany Shepherd

Dr. Mehmet Oz launched his first ad of Pennsylvania's general election cycle Thursday that leans heavily into fear about rising crime yet neglects further lines of attack taken up by Republicans nationally. While Republican candidates have been quick to nail Democrats and President Joe Biden on his staggering approval ratings, rising gas and grocery prices, and a volatile economy, Oz has taken another tack, seemingly out of former President Donald Trump's playbook: pin rising trends in violence on the left.

Trump-endorsed Oz, who is running as a Republican against progressive Lt. Gov John Fetterman for Pennsylvania's Senate seat, accuses Fetterman of "crazy, dangerous ideas" damaging communities in his 30 second spot.

"Sanctuary cities, weak prosecutors, crime skyrocketing. Failed liberal policies are making us less safe. Yet, John Fetterman wants to release one-third of prisoners and eliminate life sentences for murderers," Oz's ad says.

John Fetterman attends at a meet-and-greet at the Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pa., May 1, 2022.
Hannah Beier/Reuters, FILE

Fetterman's campaign has yet to formally respond to the ad – though the lieutenant governor tweeted Thursday afternoon that "now is not the time for Doc Hollywood's vanity project."

Nowhere in Oz's ad did he mention inflation – or even Biden by name – a divergence from a top-candidate of a party that's split between re-litigating the 2020 presidential election and crusading forward by attempting to paint Biden as a weak, ineffectual leader who will drive the average voter into debt. But this tactic doesn't come completely out of left field. Just this week, Trump called America "a cesspool of crime."

"It has to stop and it has to stop now," Trump said in his first speech in Washington, D.C., since his election loss.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

46. That's the share of Alaska voters who approve of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's job performance according to new survey data from Morning Consult, which is the first time Murkowski has been in net-positive territory since President Biden took office. But as FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley writes, it could still be an uphill battle for Murkowski this fall, as she's still more popular among Democrats in the state than she is among Republicans, and there are just a lot of unknowns in how Alaska's new electoral system, which combines top-four voting in primary with ranked choice voting in the general election, will work. Read more from Geoffrey on what it will take for Murkowski to win reelection.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. "Start Here" begins Friday morning with a special episode hosted by ABC’s Tracy Wholf and Inside Climate News’ Dan Gearino. They’ll take you to a small town in Ohio that has been deeply divided – all over whether solar should come to their community.


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