It’s looking increasingly likely that President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social-spending and climate package won’t get the Senate’s OK this year, as moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia continues to voice concerns about the Build Back Better Act.
Democrats in the Senate are preparing to miss their goal of passage by year’s end as Manchin remains a holdout, according to an NBC News report on Wednesday citing anonymous sources familiar with planning by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, can’t afford to lose the support of any senator who typically votes with the party, as he works to advance the bill through a process known as budget reconciliation. That’s because the Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats in control only because Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties.
Biden and Manchin are sharply divided over the bill, with the West Virginia senator pushing to erase the measure’s expanded child tax credit, according to an Associated Press report. Manchin said assertions he opposes that credit were “a lot of bad rumors.” Other provisions that trouble Manchin touch on paid leave and a $4,500 tax credit for electric vehicles made in unionized U.S. factories.
The Build Back Better Act already got the House’s approval last month, so Biden would be able to sign it into law if the Senate acts and the two chambers reconcile their versions of the measure. But the president is widely expetecd to have to wait until the new year.
“Prevailing wisdom inside the beltway is the package gets pushed to 2022,” said Capital Alpha Partners analysts in a note. The analysts have given 35% odds the legislation will pass the Senate by the end of this year.
At the start of December, other analysts had predicted the Build Back Better Act would pass Senate before the end of 2021 without many cuts to it.