After months of hard-fought negotiations, President Joe Biden's landmark Build Back Better bill is hanging on by a thread in the evenly divided Senate, with a new report alleging that Democrats are ready to shelve the $1.7 trillion measure until next year after facing continued roadblocks from conservative Democrats.
"This is bull----," Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, barked to a reporter when asked about the holdup on Wednesday. "You're bull----," Manchin reportedly said to HuffPost political reporter Arthur Delaney.
Democrats just don't have the votes as Manchin remains a holdout. As a result, sections of Biden's so-called human infrastructure bill remain unfinished while party leaders continue to make last-minute changes in the hopes that they can sway Manchin's vote. This includes still-to-be finalized local tax measures and environmental rules on methane gas, according to NBC News.
Party insiders who spoke with the network say any vote on Build Back Better may now be delayed until March, breaking Senate Democrats' self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline and putting Biden's domestic agenda in jeopardy as Congress' upper chamber reportedly returns to voting rights measures ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
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Manchin's continuing recalcitrance toward the sprawling social safety bill comes amid reports that he is opposed to the inclusion of a permanent child tax credit — hoping to "zero it out," according to CNN.
"I've always been for child tax credits. We voted for it many times," Manchin said when asked about his opposition to the measure, and whether it was connected to the child tax credit, before unloading a series of expletives at reporters.
Without an extension, Wednesday marks the last day child tax credit payments will go out under pandemic relief measures — though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says he isn't quite ready to throw in the towel on the payments, or Build Back Better, just yet.
"The president and Sen. Manchin are having many discussions, and we're waiting to see the outcome of those," Schumer said Wednesday. His office also maintains that it expects both the social safety net bill and a voting rights bill to reach a vote by the end of 2021, despite the challenges.