When Congress broke for the holidays without a vote on the Build Back Better bill, it looked like the proposal was dead in the water. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had said publicly that he was a “no” on the legislation, which seemed to be the nail in the coffin of the bill. However, President Biden told reporters that he believed he could work something out with Senator Joe Manchin, and progressives vowed they would keep pressing for the bill to pass.
Now, Democrats are showing renewed hope that they can somehow salvage parts of the Build Back Better bill.
In December, Manchin appeared on Fox News Sunday, and he told host Brett Baier that he would not be voting for the legislation, citing the sharp rise in inflation occurring over a period of months in 2021.
However, President Biden has been in contact with Senator Manchin, sources close to the White House are reporting. These same sources are saying that Manchin has “publicly telegraphed key changes that could elicit his support for a narrower version of the the bill.”
Manchin has said that his top concerns include the expansion for the boosted child tax credit (the Build Back Better bill would have extended the credit for one year; as it stands, the credit expired on January 1). Manchin also cited pieces of the bill that had to do with climate change as concerning.
Manchin requested that the legislation go through various Senate committees so that the economic effect of the proposal can be fully examined. Manchin also asked that the 2017 Trump tax cuts be rolled back. Ironically, the other Democratic senator that has spoken out against the Build Back Better bill, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), opposes reversing the 2017 tax legislation.
Manchin appeared on a West Virginia television show during the holiday hiatus, and he stated that the only reason he voted for a reconciliation on the Build Back Better bill was to make sure that corporations are paying their fair share.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) appeared on Foxs News Sunday recently, and, when asked about the future of the Build Back Better bill, he said that Democrats are considered voting on smaller pieces of the bill in order to get at least some of Biden’s massive spending bill through Congress.
Cardin said, “That’s a strategy decision that’s being negotiated. We are open to a way to reach the finish line.”
Democrats are keenly aware that Biden’s approval rating has plummeted over the last few months, and the 2022 midterms are coming soon. Cardin also noted that President Biden has directly participated in the aforementioned negotiations.
One issue remains with the strategy that Cardin and the Democrats are considering utilizing. In an effort to avoid a Republican filibuster, Democrats are utilizing the reconciliation method of building a budget. However, Senate rules limit just how often bills can be passed using this method.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for a vote by the end of January; however, without Manchin’s “yea” vote, the bill is dead in the water.
The Build Back Better bill is slated to cost $1.7 trillion, but in one year alone, Congress has approved a whopping $3.1 trillion in spending for the Biden Administration.
President Biden and Congressional Democrats have said that the bill will be paid for by levying a 15 percent tax on the income that corporations report to shareholders, as well as the establishment of an ultra-millionaires’ tax.
The nation’s debt is currently over $29 trillion.