The White House is scrambling to rescue its plan to pass Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Rebuild Better” bill before the end of the year, because time is running out to win over Democratic opponents worried about overspending And continued inflation.
On Monday afternoon, the President of the United States is expected to Joe ManchinThe moderate Democratic senator from West Virginia proved that he often becomes an obstacle to Biden’s domestic agenda.
The call will mark the president’s latest attempt to reach an agreement on his flagship economic proposal, which will use large-scale government investment in safety net programs and measures to combat climate change.
But the fate of this legislation-mainly paid through a series of tax increases to the rich and big companies-remains uncertain, and the Democratic Party’s own pre-Christmas deadline is less than two weeks away.
Senior Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (Chuck Schumer) initially suggested that after the House of Representatives passed the plan last month, the upper house of Congress would start studying the bill this week.
But in view of Manchin’s opposition, many in Washington still doubt whether the bill can be passed to the president before the end of the year.
Manchin told reporters on Capitol Hill: “I know people have been eager to do something for a long time, but I think basically we are seeing things develop.”
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration still “fully supports” Schumer’s efforts to pass legislation at the end of this month, and that it is too early to speculate that negotiations may continue into next year.
Psaki is optimistic about the relationship between Biden and Manchin, saying that their “conversations are always conducted in good faith.”
Manchin told reporters: “Basically, when the president calls me or wants to visit, I basically talk… We talk in good faith, face to face, as two people who have experience in the Senate.”
Democrats hope to pass a Senate process called “reconciliation” without Republican support to “rebuild better”, which will allow them to bypass the 60-vote threshold to obstruct the bill. But because the Democrats control the House of Representatives with the weakest advantage—50-50, and Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the final vote—they need the support of all 50 Democratic senators.
No Republicans said they would support the bill, and the opposition said the bill was a waste of public spending when consumer prices soared.
Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, has for months expressed concerns about the scale and scope of “better reconstruction”, and recently linked his opposition to rising inflation.The latest official data released last week showed U.S. consumer prices November grew at the fastest rate in nearly 40 years.
The independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the “Better Rebuild Plan” last month, saying that the bill would “result in a net increase of $367 billion in the deficit during the period 2022-31.” The CBO expects that the White House’s separate proposal to strengthen tax enforcement will reduce the deficit by US$127 billion over the same period.
However, the White House has postponed the CBO’s forecast, insisting that the bill will be “fully paid” and put forward its own more aggressive forecast, showing that “rebuilding better” will actually reduce the federal deficit by $112.5 billion.