McConnell 'Gives' Manchin and Sinema 'Lots of Love' for Infrastructure Bill Opposition

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has praised Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona for opposing their party's $3.5 trillion spending proposal.

Democrats plan to pass the massive bill using the Senate's budget reconciliation process, which could allow the legislation to become law without any Republican votes. However, every Democratic senator would need to vote for the bill due to the upper chamber being evenly split along party lines. Manchin has called for placing a "strategic pause" on the proposal, while Sinema has also said that she will not support the bill due to its high price tag.

McConnell expressed his appreciation for the moderate senators during a lunchtime speech at the Rotary Club in Paducah, Kentucky on Wednesday. He lamented that the Senate was "down to two" Democrats who were "resisting" the agenda of their own party before naming both Manchin and Sinema.

"I pray for them every night, I wish them well, we give them lots of love," McConnell said while smiling as a small amount of laughter was heard from the audience. "There's not a single member of my party in the House or Senate who are going to vote for this monstrosity. It is wildly inappropriate for our country."

Mitch McConnell Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Senate
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he has "lots of love" for Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Cinema amid hopes that they will block President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending proposal. McConnell is pictured above during a press conference in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2021. Samuel Corum/Getty

While answering questions after the speech, McConnell said that he hoped "Manchin and Sinema will dig in their heels" by opposing the bill's provision to change the way that inherited property is taxed—a move that the senator said would be "a dramatic step in literally the direction of confiscating your property at death."

McConnell also said that although he did not expect Manchin and Sinema to entirely block the bill, they could use their position to force "dramatic changes" to the proposal.

"Since there's no votes to spare, either one of them could kill the whole bill," the Republican from Kentucky said. "I don't expect that to happen. Either one of them could make dramatic changes in it. That could happen. Or, either one of them could basically make a few cosmetic changes and throw in the towel. That's what I hope doesn't happen."

Manchin outlined his opposition to the bill in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last week titled "Why I Won't Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion," while Sinema made it clear that she was not in favor of the proposal multiple times over the summer. Both senators have also announced their opposition to other key components of President Joe Biden's agenda in recent months, such as the For the People Act voting rights bill.

Newsweek reached out to the offices of Manchin and Sinema for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.