Congressional Democrats are negotiating against themselves as they try to complete a spending plan that started at $3.5 trillion but is likely to shrink significantly in the weeks ahead. Though the party can pass the legislation without any Republican support, using the budget reconciliation process, pressure from Democratic moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin — amid a full-court lobbying blitz from pro-business groups — has already forced the sacrifice of several key aspects. Some progressive Democrats fear this is another example of the party abandoning key constituencies and core principles, and s say this could backfire badly at the ballot box.

Much of the focus in the negotiation has been on Manchin, the West Virginia senator at the chamber’s dead center, who has threatened to oppose the bill unless its spending is cut by more than half. But House moderates have made similar demands: A new draft proposal from the House…

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