Democrats begin the new year hoping to salvage the fragments of President Biden’s signature economic spending plan just weeks after important moderate Senator Joe Manchin dashed the party’s hopes for the passage of massive social spending and climate legislation.
Congressional momentum for the Build Back Better plan collapsed in late December when Manchin – citing the highest inflation rate in a generation – abruptly withdrew its support for the bill during an interview on Fox News Sunday. But the West Virginia Democrat has since spoken to the president, notified people familiar with the matter to FOX Business, and publicly wired important changes that could generate his support for a tighter version of the bill.
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Manchin’s main concerns about the law are the one-year extension of the increased child tax break, which expired in January without Congress intervention, as well as some anti-climate change provisions. He has also insisted that the move should go through the Senate committees to review its economic impact and focus on reversing the 2017 Trump tax cuts – something Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Opposes.
“The only reason I voted for reconciliation in the first place was to set taxes so that everyone pays their fair share,” Manchin told West Virginia MetroNews two weeks ago. “The ultra-rich corporations that paid nothing would all pay their fair share.”
But Democrats are starting to pick up the debris with a view to the 2022 midterm elections and have uncovered the possibility of breaking the package into smaller pieces that would supposedly be easier to pass through.
“This is a strategic decision that is being negotiated,” Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md., Recently told Fox News Sunday. “We are open to a way to reach the finish line. We want to make it as comprehensive as possible because the needs are just there.”
The problem with this strategy is that Senate rules limit the frequency with which bills can be passed using budget balancing, the tactic Democrats use to avoid a Republican filibuster. Cardin said there was “unanimity” within the group to put a bill on Biden, noting that the president was directly involved in the negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is also pushing for a vote on the huge spending package this month, although it is guaranteed to fail without Manchin’s support.
The $ 1.7 trillion legislation spanned a range of provisions, including universal preschoolers, paid family vacations, measures to combat climate change, and the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. It would also have extended the increased child tax credit by one year. The Democrats proposed paying the bill by introducing an ultra-millionaires tax and adding a 15 percent levy on the revenues that wealthy companies report to shareholders.
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Since Biden became president a year ago, Congress has approved a staggering $ 3.1 trillion in federal spending. The nation’s debt is already at an all-time high of $ 29 trillion and is expected to top $ 30 trillion.