Plans to revive President Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation revolve around talks between swing Democratic vote, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Key Senate Democrats are working to revive Biden’s legislative agenda, which focuses on tax changes, climate change initiatives, and infrastructure.
Manchin previously stymied earlier attempts to pass the legislation over inflation and deficit concerns. However, he has signaled that he may support Build Back Better’s climate provisions in a slimmed-down version of the bill.
Lawmakers hope to resolve the discussion of the laws as soon as possible to then shift the focus to campaigning for the November midterm elections, which could change the balance of power in Congress.
While Sam Runyon, Manchin’s spokesperson, would not commit to Manchin’s possible vote, he said the senator “remains seriously concerned about the financial status of our country and believes fighting inflation by restoring fairness to our tax system and paying down our national debt must be our first priority.”
Biden needs a boost
President Joe Biden faces an uphill battle with rock-bottom job approval ratings. The president aims to get a deal done before the midterms for Democrat candidates to use while campaigning.
The Biden administration hopes the possible passage of the legislation, with key climate laws included, will draw young voters to the polls and inject cash into campaigns from wealthy Democrat donors.
However, a slimmer spending bill may leave critical parts of Biden’s agenda on the cutting room floor of the Senate. Democrats may balk at passing legislation that isn’t progressive enough on childcare funding, climate change initiatives, Medicare expansion, and other vital issues.
Republicans and swing Democrats oppose the legislation and a possible carbon border tax, which seeks to subject U.S. corporations who import products from less environmentally strict countries to heavy tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.
The White House has also indicated that tariffs may be increased on various products.
Republicans have attacked the Biden administration over soaring inflation, record gas prices, and rising costs on almost every product.
Manchin’s vote is critical for the president. The Senate is evenly divided 50-50 between Republicans and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Any effort to pass the legislation will need Manchin’s vote to pass.
Long-considered the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, the senator was previously the governor of West Virginia, a Republican stronghold and coal-producing state.
Manchin shocked Biden and his administration when he said he would not be supporting the previous version of the Biden signature legislation.