Biden’s Build Back Better Reportedly Stalled Into 2022 Amid Stanch Resistance From Joe Manchin
18:26 GMT 16.12.2021 (Updated: 18:32 GMT 16.12.2021)
President Joe Biden needs the support of West Virginia senator and fiscal conservative fellow Democrat Joe Manchin to pass his signature $1.75 trillion Build Back Better spending agenda, which proposes a broad range of spending on social welfare and climate. The lawmaker has expressed concerns about the bill’s inflationary impact.
Democrats don’t expect to get Joe Manchin onboard the Build Back Better spending train in the two weeks before the new year, CNN reports, citing sources said to have knowledge of the negotiations between the senator and the president.
Manchin, the West Virginia lawmaker turned-kingmaker in a Senate that’s split 50/50 straight down the middle between Democrats and Republicans, reportedly continues to have reservations regarding BBB’s price tag, with the vision of the president and the senator said to be “very far apart” at the moment.
The fiscal conservative senator, who has been derided as a DINO, or ‘Democrat In Name Only’ by some of his fellow Democrats, reportedly wants to axe the expanded child tax credit provision from the bill to keep the spending package under his arbitrarily assigned $1.75 trillion limit and to prevent the programme’s costs from ballooning year after year.
Sources say the impasse means Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will soon be pushing the Senate vote on the bill into next year. Given Manchin’s support, Democrats could pass the bill using the budget reconciliation mechanism, without the ordinary 60-vote majority traditionally required in the upper house of the Congress.
Manchin’s reported resistance is one of several reasons for the delay, according to CNN’s sources, with others including the lack of a finalized legislative text, the need for a parliamentary review of the bill to ensure swift passage, and ‘policy issues’ – including regarding how the federal bill will mesh with state and local legislation on tax deductions.
Publicly, the West Virginia Democrat has proposed negotiating the expanded child tax credit separately from BBB, saying he believes in the idea, that “it works great to help people, families,” and that he’s “always been for that.”
The enhanced child tax credit proposed by Biden and the Democrats in the Build Back Better package proposes extending a measure introduced under the $1.9 trillion in Covid relief spending passed in March. It offers tax credits of up to $3,600 for children zero to six, and $3,000 for those ages six to seventeen, for families earning $112,500 or less per year. The expanded credit provided under the Covid law will expire at the end of December.
Manchin has expressed concerns over the introduction of even more money into the US economy through federal spending, expressing concerns this week over the consumer price index, which climbed 6.8 percent in November - a high unseen in nearly four decades, and its impact on Americans.
13 December 2021, 21:09 GMT
“Inflation is real, it’s not transitory. It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re really concerned about,” Manchin said Tuesday.
Build Back Better has already been slashed from its original price tag of $3.5 trillion amid negotiations between Biden and fiscal conservative Democrats, including Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Build Back Better is the final major spending measure put forward by Biden. Last month, the president’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill was signed into law after 13 members of the GOP voting in favour of the measure.
The injection of over $8 trillion in spending into the US economy over the past two years has caused fears in some corners that US debt may soon reach critical levels and surpass the government’s ability to pay interest. On Thursday, President Biden signed a bill into law to increase the US debt limit by another $2.5 trillion following warnings from the Treasury Department in the fall that the federal government could run out of money and default on its obligations to creditors if the limit was not raised.
US federal debt has surpassed $29 trillion, with total obligations topping $85 trillion – over four times America’s GDP.
16 December 2021, 17:18 GMT