Senate Democrats reportedly booed their fellow Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., after he mentioned the national deficit during a Tuesday caucus luncheon.
Though it's not clear why he brought up the sore subject, Politico, the first to report the incident, speculated that it may be related to concerns around the $3.5 trillion price tag of the Senate Democrats' infrastructure reconciliation bill – a number that Manchin has suggested is far too lofty.
One source told Politico that Manchin was "jokingly booed" by his colleagues, but another disputed this account, alleging that the rest of the room didn't see it that way.
Manchin has gained notoriety, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, for extreme moderation. The West Virginia senator, self-described as a "moderate conservative Democrat," is a staunch opponent of nuking the filibuster – a maneuver which many progressives have argued is the only way to circumvent Republican obstructionism. Manchin has also fought against raising the federal minimum wage. Back in February, the lawmaker slashed an effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 – a proposal that was backed by President Biden as part of the Raise the Wage Act. Back in November, Manchin additionally demurred a progressive campaign to defund the police, calling the effort part of a "social agenda."
"Defund the police? Defund, my butt," he tweeted at the time. "I'm a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans' jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police."
On the fiscal budget, Politico noted, Manchin has gained a reputation for his relatively hawkish stances, often cautioning against overspending due to the rising national debt and deficit.
So far, however, Democrats have been unperturbed by Manchin's hawkishness with respect to their reconciliation bill, which sets out revamping roads, bridges, and railways, as well as provide family leave, universal pre-K, expanded medicare, and child tax credits.
Two weeks ago, Manchin told CNN that he felt "very, very disturbed" by the measure's climate change mitigation provisions.