President Joe Biden is finishing his first year in the nation’s highest office, and he’s presided over two huge bills.
In February, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, known for its child tax credit. Last month, he signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act… but now he’s giving up on the third bill.
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Last month, the House passed Biden’s signature spending bill, the Build Back Better Act. However, the Senate has yet to vote on the bill.
Last month, the Senate Democrats seemed optimistic about the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters in November, “We aim to pass it before Christmas.”
However, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, has united with Republican lawmakers to stall the bill over the jaw-dropping price tag. Manchin is looking increasingly likely to extend the negotiations into next year, past Christmas.
Biden himself acknowledged defeat in a statement on Thursday.
Biden wrote, “My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week. It takes time to finalize these agreements.”
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However, Biden stopped short of blaming Manchin. Instead, he blamed the Republicans.
I had a productive call with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer earlier today. I briefed them on the most recent discussions that my staff and I have held with Senator Manchin about Build Back Better. In these discussions, Senator Manchin has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September. I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.
Notwithstanding the unrelenting Republican obstruction – not a single Republican is willing to move forward on the bill – I am determined to see this bill enacted into law.
In the “framework,” Biden included $200 billion for both the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit. He also included $555 billion for clean energy, $150 billion for elder care, and $35 billion to cover hearing aids on Medicare.
Manchin wants to cut the child tax credit. In fact, one insider told CNN Thursday that Manchin wants to “zero it out.”
Manchin has faced criticism from his fellow Democrats. However, he told CNN on Thursday, “No one pressures me; I’m from West Virginia.”
The Horn editorial team