Democrats Fume Over Manchin’s Resistance to Biden’s Build Back Better Bill

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteUS Senate
US Senate - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2021
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Joe Biden’s signature $1.75 trillion social and climate spending bill has stalled in the Senate, with the president and fiscal conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin reportedly stuck “very far apart” on what it will take to get the bill passed. Manchin’s support is critical in a Senate that’s split 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans.
Democratic lawmakers are fuming in frustration over the obstruction of the president’s Build Back Better bill, expressing exasperation over the Senate deadlock causing the situation.
“A 50/50 Senate is really problematic. I’ve used the word ‘sucks’. It definitely enables one or two people to hold things up. So, yes, I am frustrated,” Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told reporters Thursday.
Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois echoed the sentiment, saying he felt “frustrated and disappointed.”
“We had more than ample opportunity to reach…a Democratic agreement – I never assumed any bipartisan support. We’ve missed an opportunity. But I’m not giving up,” the majority whip said.
Durbin expressed annoyance over the “stunning” opposition to the bill taken by Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Senator and Democrat whose regular opposition to his own party’s legislative agenda have earned him the nickname of ‘DINO’ or ‘Democrat In Name Only’ in some circles.
“Apparently Manchin’s approach to this has changed a lot. I don’t know where he is today or where he’ll be tomorrow,” the Illinois senator said. Durbin did not elaborate on whether he was talking about Manchin’s stance on the bill, his future in the party, or his status as a senator.
“Joe Manchin has been camped out in the Lincoln bedroom and has his own parking space at the White House, he’s been there so often,” Durbin complained, pointing to Manchin’s role as a kingmaker in an evenly split Senate.
CNN reported Thursday that Manchin, whose support is critical to getting the Build Back Better bill passed, is nowhere near reaching an agreement with the president on the legislation. The dispute reportedly centers around the extension of the expanded child tax credit provision, which an inflation-anxious Manchin wants to axe, but which progressive Democrats are anxious to take a bite out of child poverty.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters as he leaves the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.12.2021
Biden’s Build Back Better Reportedly Stalled Into 2022 Amid Stanch Resistance From Joe Manchin
Sources told CNN that amid the deadlock, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now plans to push a Senate vote on the bill into next year, after the upcoming holiday recess. The Democratic majority House of Representatives approved the spending package in November, with Schumer expressing hopes earlier this week that the bill could get through Congress before Christmas.
President Biden addressed the issue on Thursday, insisting that his party would advance the bill “over the days and weeks ahead,” and adding that he was confident that Democrats could “bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.”
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., December 8, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2021
Wait Until 2022? Biden Believes Dems Will Advance Build Back Better Plan ‘Over Days and Weeks Ahead’
Senate Republicans have stonewalled the Build Back Better agenda, which includes over $500 billion for clean energy and climate change-related provisions, and hundreds of billions of dollars more for childcare and preschools, child tax credits, home care, affordable housing, and an expansion of Medicare. GOP resistance is centered around fears that the new spending, on top of the estimated $8 trillion in ‘Covid relief’ and other spending already injected into the economy over the past two years, could cause another spike in inflation and add to the US government’s $29 trillion debt. The party expressed no such concerns this week while voting on the 2022 defence budget, which provides for over $740 billion in spending. That spending package passed the Senate 88-11 on Wednesday, with the House passing it a week earlier 363 votes to 70.
Senior Republicans have expressed unfettered jubilation over the delay of the Build Back Better bill, with effete South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham suggesting that the bill was “dead forever…because Joe Manchin has said he’s not going to vote for a bill that will add to the deficit.”
His sentiments were echoed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said that “putting this bad bill on ice” would be “the best Christmas gift Washington could give working families.”
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