Xmas Gift for Biden? Manchin Reportedly Tells President How Build Back Better Could Be Saved

© REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst Рождественские декорации Белого дома в Вашингтоне
Рождественские декорации Белого дома в Вашингтоне  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.12.2021
Democrats were left without any presents in their Christmas stockings after self-described ‘moderate conservative’ Democrat Joe Manchin announced that he had given up on the Build Back Better Act – President Biden’s keystone $1.75 trillion social and climate spending agenda, amid irreconcilable differences over its proposed spending.
Senator Joe Manchin told the White House last week that he was open to the idea of a new tax targeting billionaires to help fund Build Back Better, the Washington Post reports, citing three sources said to be familiar with the offer.
Manchin singlehandedly torpedoed BBB last week after saying that he “just can’t” vote for the bill in its current form, with his vote crucial in a Senate split 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans.
The billionaire tax idea said to be ‘toward the bottom of the list’ among a series of other proposals put forth by Manchin as a means to get BBB back on track, with WaPo’s sources providing no details on whether it included an estimate on revenues expected to be generated by the new levy.
Last Sunday, Manchin appeared on Fox News to say that he had “tried everything” in his negotiations with the White House and President Biden, but could not bring himself to vote on the bill in its current form amid fears over its inflationary impact, and the added burden it would place on the $29 trillion national debt.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a media briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
Biden Will 'Work Like Hell' to Get BBB Past Congress After Manchin Killed Bill, Psaki Says
White House press secretary Jen Psaki blasted Manchin, accusing him of “a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the president and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.” Psaki promised to “continue to press” Manchin “to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honour his prior commitments and be true to his word.”
Publicly, Manchin’s resistance to BBB revolves around its proposed inclusion of a one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit approved in the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package which was passed in March, but expired in December, in the new spending.
Along with the tax credit, BBB proposes over $500 billion in spending for clean energy and climate change, and hundreds of billions more for childcare and preschools, home care and affordable housing, an expansion of Medicare, and other social provisions.
The Manchin-Biden feud over the bill has met with backlash from progressive Democrats, including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who proposed that the party “crack down” on the “old boys’ club” in the Senate. Former president Donald Trump praised the senator’s resistance to the bill, suggesting that Manchin had “saved” Biden from passing the legislation and “blow[ing] this country up.”
Build Back Better has already taken over a trillion dollars in cuts in recent months, largely due to internal Democratic Party resistance from Manchin and Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer and other democrats promised that the party would “keep voting on” the legislation “until we get something done,” while Psaki similarly promised that the president would “work like hell to get it done.”
Congress has already poured an estimated $8 trillion in spending into the economy over the past two years in Covid relief and other spending, with Republicans beginning to express hesitation on new spending after Biden’s inauguration in January, citing fears over its impact on inflation and debt. One area where Republicans and Democrats have managed to maintain bipartisan unity is the defence budget – which was easily approved last week, giving the Pentagon nearly $768 billion to play with in fiscal year 2022.
A general view of the U.S. Capitol under blue skies in Washington, U.S. December 14, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
Majority of US Senate Passes $768Bln Defence Spending Bill
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