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Tipsheet

'51 Senators': ABC News Tweet Gets Savaged for Faulty Math on Build Back Better

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Media coverage promoting Biden's Build Back Better agenda has gotten so desperate that news outlets are taking to failing at math in an attempt to guilt trip Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has expressed reservations about the $1.75 trillion reconciliation spending bill.

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While Sen. Manchin and the White House may still be ironing out their negotiations in order to get the moderate Democrat's support, he is not the only senator opposed to the agenda item. In fact, it's a total of 51 senators, since no Republican supports the legislation.

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Democrats are able to pass the bill through the reconciliation process, which requires only a simple majority since it deals with cost and revenue. That being said, it still must pass with a majority, and in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats can't afford to lose any members.

The tweet that is getting considerable attention, and trending under "51 Senators" is from ABC News, though the original reporting came from Lisa Mascaro and Farnoush Amiri of the Associated Press.

In "Power of one: Manchin is singularly halting Biden’s agenda," they dramatically lament the "extraordinary display of political power in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, [in which] a single senator is about to seriously set back an entire presidential agenda." 

Mascaro and Amiri later go on to write that failing to pass the bill "would be a stunning end to the president's first year in office."

The piece quotes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with the Democrats and is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Sen. Sanders has not only owned the initial cost of the bill – $6 trillion – but has continuously decried the negotiated lower amounts as not being enough.

When criticizing Sen. Manchin for opposing the bill, Sanders also adds in "the Republicans and anybody else."

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At one point in the piece, it's acknowledged that Democrats "cannot live without" Manchin's vote. 

Other than that, though, Mascaro and Amiri do not acknowledge that it's more than just the "power of one" or "a single senator."

There have been reports that the Senate is moving away from prioritizing passing Build Back Better before the year's end in order to focus on voting legislation that would amount to a federal takeover of elections. A statement from Biden himself that the White House sent out on Thursday night suggested as much. 

Such a priority is in danger as well, though, since Democrats cannot pass such legislation through a simple majority and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) remains opposed, along with Manchin, to getting rid of the filibuster. 

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