President Joe Biden is adamant about resuming talks with Senator Joe Manchin, the lone Democrat who effectively killed the party’s major $2 trillion domestic policy program with his own shocking year-end revelation.
Biden joked Tuesday at the White House in response to reporters’ inquiries that he had no hard feelings against West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose rejection of the social services and climate change package startled Washington just days ago.
Instead, the president talked passionately about the families who would benefit from the Democrats’ ambitious, though now extremely unclear, plan to invest billions in child care, health care, and other services.
Biden stated, “Senator Manchin and I are going to get something done.”
As Democrats try to pick up the pieces after Manchin’s admission over the weekend that he would not support the measure as is, the president’s off-the-cuff words are his first public statement. In a 50-50 Senate, Manchin effectively defeated Biden’s broad policy proposal, voting with all Republicans who reject it.
Later Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set a resolute tone, assuring Senate Democrats on a 90-minute video call that they should anticipate a vote on the package in January as they work toward a resolution.
According to a Democrat on the private conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Schumer understood the unhappiness among Democrats, but he reminded senators that the party was “not giving up” on the issue.
However, the Democrats confront severe doubts about whether the $2 trillion program can be reshaped to secure his vote, or if the party would suffer a humiliating defeat.
After months of unsuccessful discussions, Manchin and his party are so far apart, and his connections are so strained, it’s uncertain how they’ll ever get back to the negotiating table, let alone resuscitate the huge 2,100-page social services and climate change measure.
Biden talked passionately about the economic constraints that take away the “dignity of a parent” when it comes to paying bills, as well as the help that millions of people may receive from the federal government as a result of the law. He also claimed that his package would contribute in the reduction of inflationary pressures, citing studies that suggested it would stimulate the economy.
Biden stated, “I want to get things done.” “I believe it is still possible to complete Build Back Better.”
The loss has cast doubt on Biden’s flagship legislative initiative at a crucial moment, as the president’s first year draws to a close and the Democrats’ tenuous control on Congress is put to the test in the midterm elections.
With strong Republican opposition, Manchin’s vote is critical on this and other issues, including the Democrats’ priority voting rights legislation, which Schumer indicated will be brought up for a vote soon.
On Tuesday, Schumer stated that if Republicans continue to obstruct voting rights legislation in January, the Senate will propose rules changes, according to the Democrat on the conversation. That’s an allusion to long-running efforts to change or abolish the filibuster, which normally necessitates a 60-vote barrier for legislation to move forward.
While Manchin has stated that he is unable to explain the bill to his voters in West Virginia, a union representing coal miners, including some of the almost 12,000 in his home state, has issued a statement encouraging Manchin to “revisit his opposition” to the plan.
The United Mine Workers of America’s president, Cecil Roberts, highlighted how the package will assist union members, especially those in West Virginia, the country’s most coal-dependent state.
Some of the measures include wording extending the present charge paid by coal firms to support compensation for victims of pneumoconiosis, or black lung, among coal miners. According to the organization, the plan would also include financial incentives to encourage industries to develop facilities near coalfields, potentially hiring miners who have lost their employment.
With Congress on leave for the holidays, the president’s and his party’s future actions remain exceedingly unpredictable.
Manchin’s preference for a reinvented plan that would address a few core concerns over a longer period of time, rather than the multidimensional and far-reaching House-passed version, appeared to pique the White House’s attention.
However, after devoting most of Biden’s first year in office to what is now effectively a failed endeavor, it will be extremely difficult for progressive and centrist Democrats to reestablish confidence in order to begin a new round of discussions.
The massive package was one of the most comprehensive ever discussed by Congress, releasing billions of dollars to help American households across the country — virtually all of it paid for by higher taxes on businesses and the rich.
It would give free pre-school and child care assistance to families with children. Subsidies for health insurance premiums, decreased prescription medication costs, and expanded Medicaid eligibility in states that do not already provide it are all available. The measure would establish a new senior hearing aid program. It also contains more than $500 billion to reduce carbon emissions, which is the single-largest federal investment ever made to tackle climate change.
The expiry of an enlarged child tax credit, which has been delivering up to $300 monthly straight to millions of families’ bank accounts, might be a fresh deadline for Biden and his party. If Congress does not act, the funds will not be available in January.