Biden, Manchin Talked Social Spending Bill After Senator’s Rejection

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President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) resumed consultations over the proposed $1.8 trillion “Build Back Better” bill following Manchin’s apparent tentative rejection earlier this month, according to a White House advisor, affording progressives a glimmer of hope that the senator’s swing vote could still be guaranteed for the contentious social spending bill.

IN SUMMARY

  • Following Manchin’s rejection of the proposed $1.8 trillion “Build Back Better” bill, Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) resumed discussions.
  • Support from the senator is critical in the Senate, where Democrats have a thin margin for mistakes.
  • The White House council of economic advisors exuded confidence in the proposal’s Senate approval.
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Build Back Better Bill After Manchin’s Public Rejection

“The president and Senator Manchin were talking again the day after the senator indicated he could not vote for the bill as drafted.”

It had been reported that Biden and Manchin made no major headway in their negotiations following Manchin’s earlier rejection of the plan in December. Still, aides were comforted that lines of communication remained open and amicable. Biden confirmed to reporters this week that they have not communicated since then.

Manchin’s rejection curtails the legislation since his support is critical in the Senate, where Democrats hold the slimmest majority and Republicans are unified in opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had stated that the Senate would consider a package in early 2022.

Manchin’s decision compelled investment bank Goldman Sachs to downgrade its economic growth projections for the United States. Manchin’s rejection of the bill threatens to risk hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and the Biden administration’s climate ambitions.

Manchin has raised reservations about some ideas included in Biden’s major domestic policy bill, including various climate policies and the monthly child tax credit extension.

After Manchin’s rejection, Biden assured reporters that he and the senator were “going to get something done” on the legislation.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a key liberal Democrat in the House, has urged Biden to maintain his focus on social spending legislation and to utilize executive action despite Manchin’s vocal rejection of the proposal.

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The Necessary background

Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House council of economic advisors, said the president “is far from finished fighting for Building Back Better” and remains “confident” in the legislation’s prospects.

Bernstein stated that “the day after the senator stated that he could not vote for the bill in its current form, [he and Biden] were talking again, so we are confident.”

Congress will reconvene on January 3, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicating earlier this month in a letter to colleagues that the Senate would vote on the bill “quite early in the new year.”

Manchin — a necessary swing vote for the measure’s success — has expressed concern about rising inflation if the bill passes; however, Bernstein stated Friday that the bill would “reduce inflationary pressures” by lowering the prices of child care, education, and prescription pharmaceuticals.

Manchin previously stated that he could not vote yes on the proposal, claiming that he had “done everything humanly possible.” This is a no vote on this bill.” After the declaration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement rebutting the senator’s misgivings about the proposed bill, including an enhanced child tax credit.

The measure’s cost has been trimmed from its initial $3.5 trillion estimates to persuade Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), two moderate Democrats whose votes are required to pass the Senate. Paid family leave, child care subsidies, universal preschool, and renewable energy programs are all incorporated in the bill passed by the House last month.

Initially coupled with a now-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, progressives expected progress on “Build Back Better” in exchange. Progressives such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) termed Manchin’s stance as a betrayal.

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