Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. told reporters he would bring up his concerns about the cost of the Build Back Better bill and inflation when he spoke with President Joe Biden.
Manchin’s caution points to further delays in the passage of a $2 trillion environmental and social spending package the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress were focused on passing before Christmas.
According to reports, a group of more than 450 organizations is calling on the Senate to pass Biden’s $2 trillion package, which the House already has approved, before adjourning for the holiday.
The organizations ask the senators to reject any amendments that could decrease or weaken the racial equity impacts of the child tax credit and pass the legislation before stepping away for their holiday recess.
Signers of the letter to the Senate included: Center for American Progress, the National Urban League, Economic Security Project Action, the Children’s Defense Fund, UnidosUS, the National Women’s Law Center, and the NAACP.
Manchin, others stand in the way
Manchin’s fiscally conservative leanings have slowed passage because Democrats hold a slim Senate majority and can’t afford to lose his vote. The Senate has been less rushed due to Manchin’s hesitancy as inflation spirals higher.
With inflation hitting a 40-year high, the administration is trying to sell the bill as a countermeasure to inflation.
The White House continues to state that the measure will ultimately pay for itself. However, a Congressional Budget Office report explained that the bill would cost taxpayers $3 trillion more than estimated if temporary programs are made permanent.
Senator Manchin called the Budget Office’s report “very sobering” and said that he planned to speak with President Biden about “exactly what happened on Friday with the CBO score and inflation reports and things of that sort.”
To secure passage of the bill in the Senate, Democrats need all 50 of their senators to sign on, leaving Vice President Kamala Harris, also a Democrat, as the tie-breaking vote.
“Inflation is real; it’s not transitory. It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re concerned about. And geopolitical fallout,” said Manchin.
“These are all concerns. The unknown right now is very, very great.”