WASHINGTON Democratic Senator Joe Manchin stated Sunday that he could not support his party’s signature$2 trillion Social and Environmental BillThis could be a fatal blow to President Joe Bidens domestic initiative, which was heading into an election year in which Democrats held a narrow grip on Congress.
Fox News Sunday, Manchin said that afterFive-and-half months of negotiationsThis piece of legislation was a major obstacle to passage for Democrats. I can’t vote for it. I can’t. I’ve tried everything. “I can’t get there.”
Manchin’s choice words seemed to open up the possibility of continuing talks with Biden and top congressional Democrats about reforming the legislation. The West Virginia senator said that the bill would be killed if it did not meet his demands for a smaller and more sweeping package. This would be difficult for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress.
The bill would provide hundreds upon billions of dollars to millions of families with children through the extension of a more generous child credit, free preschool, and bolstering child care assistance. Experts estimate that the federal spending to combat climate change is the largest ever, at more than $500billion.
Other provisions would also limit prescription drug price hikes, provide hearing assistance for Medicare recipients, and increase aid for the elderly and housing. It would be almost entirely paid for by large and wealthy corporations and higher taxes.
Jen Psaki, White House press Secretary, described Manchin’s announcement as a sudden and unexplainable reversal in Manchins position and a breach in his commitments with Biden and congressional Democrats. She pointedly said that Manchin’s state is among the poorest in the nation and will have “to explain” why so many families will need to pay higher child care and health care costs.
Psaki stated in a statement that Manchin had personally given Biden a proposal in writing last Tuesday. It was roughly the same size and scope as the framework for the bill that Democrats supported in October. The outline was $1.85 trillion in cost over a period of 10 years.
She stated that Manchin spoke to Biden when the White House believed that compromise was possible. Manchin agreed to continue discussions. We will continue to push him to see if his position changes again, to honor all his commitments and keep his word, Psaki said.
A progressive advocate stated Sunday that President Biden had increased pressure on Senator Manchin to support the legislation during Biden’s conversation with him this week. However, this advocate and another person who spoke earlier in week said that the men’s conversation was a failure and was not productive. These sources could not speak publicly about the private talks and spoke under duress.
According to a source familiar with the actions of Senator Manchin, the White House received a notice from an aide about 20 minutes before Manchin made his announcement on national television.
The collapse of legislation would only deepen ideological divides between moderate and progressive Democrats. This would put at risk the party’s ability support any substantial legislation prior to the November congressional elections, which seem likely to determine their control over Congress. It would also add chaos to the mix, just as Democrats need to show accomplishments and unite voters.
Manchin’s declaration was an astonishing repudiation of Bidens’ and his party’s top goal. Many consider it impossible to reject the legislation because of the potential political damage it could cause to Democrats.
It is not often for a member from a president’s party to deliver a fatal blow against their main legislative objective. Manchin’s decision brought back the famous thumbs down vote by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), which killed President Donald Trump’s 2017 attempt to repeal the Obama-era health care law.
Manchin’s remarks, while Congress was on holiday recess caused fury from Democratic colleagues that he had already been frustrated and angry for months. Other problems have also arisen due to Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Silena, a moderate Democrat, and bickering between centrists and progressives, but none of these has been as severe as Manchin’s.
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Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, stated in a written declaration that Manchin could oppose the legislation by having it voted on the floor as soon as the Senate returns.
Rep. Pramila Jaipal of Washington, a leader among House progressives, stated that Manchin routinely claims that he is a man true to his word but that he cannot. West Virginians and the nation can clearly see who he really is.
Centrist lawmakers also continued to pile on.
One Democratic U.S. One Democratic U.S. senator has now abruptly walked out of productive negotiations. This is unacceptable. We cannot act as if this moment is the last, stated Rep. Abigail Spanberger D-Va.
Rep. Suzan delBene, D. Wash., reiterated the moderates’ desire for the bill to be refocused on fewer programmes. She said, “Failure cannot be an option.”
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on Senate Budget Committee, spent weeks trying to get Manchin to vote against the bill. He claimed it was too costly. Graham stated that Manchin’s opposition was greatly appreciated.
Manchin stated that he opposed the roughly $2 trillion bill over a 10-year period because of concerns about inflation and growing federal debt. He also said that he wanted to concentrate on the COVID-19 variant. He also wants the bill’s measures to last for the full 10-year period. Manchin claims that Democrats made many temporary to limit the bill’s costs.
The bill’s extension for enhanced child tax credit benefits, which include monthly checks to millions, would only be extended for one year. The credit’s total cost over the next 10 years was $1.6 trillion according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which is almost the same size as the entire package Manchin said he would accept. Any compromise would have to reduce the tax credit’s benefits and drastically cut many other proposals in order to fit.
Democrats reject Manchin’s claims that the bill would increase inflation and worsen deficits.
They claim that the annual spending of the agency would only be a small percentage of the country’s $23 trillion economy, and would have no impact on prices. They believe that the country’s job training, education, as well as other initiatives, would encourage economic growth and curb inflation over the long-term.
Democrats note that CBO projected that the bill’s savings would add $200 billion over the next decade to the federal deficits. This is small in comparison to the $12 trillion in redink already projected.
This report was contributed by Josh Boak, Associated Press reporter in Wilmington, Delaware and Lisa Mascaro, AP Congressional Correspondent.
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