U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema faces reporters after Senate advanced debt limit increase on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is pursued by reporters after it was announced that the U.S. Senate reached a deal to pass a $480 billion increase in Treasury Department borrowing authority, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

October 14, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a key moderate, told fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives this week that she will not vote for a multitrillion-dollar package that is a top priority for President Joe Biden before Congress approves a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, according to a source briefed on the meeting.

Aides for Sinema, who has the power to stop legislation from advancing in the 50-50 Senate, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an online meeting, Sinema and fellow Senate moderate Joe Manchin said they would not abide by any deadlines adopted by leadership to force votes on the package.

Congress already faces a pair of critical deadlines around Dec. 3, when the government faces the risk of shutdown and a historic debt default without congressional action. Democrats’ razor-thin majorities are also at stake in next year’s midterm elections.

Sinema and Manchin have balked at Biden’s plan’s initial $3.5 trillion price tag for a spending measure to fund social programs and fighting climate change. As a result, Biden faces a difficult balancing act in trying to bring down the cost but not alienate progressives who also are essential to passage.

Following a meeting earlier this month on Capitol Hill with his fellow Democrats, Biden suggested the bill could cost around $2 trillion over 10 years.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw, additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

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