Democrats race to win back $1.75 billion in Construction bill Better back

Senate Democrats will meet on Tuesday for intense negotiations to try to chart the path forward for Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package, following when his Democratic counterpart Joe Manchin all but torpedoes on the president’s economic agenda.

Many legislators returned to their states for the Christmas period. But Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said Senate Democrats will hold a “virtual special caucus” call Tuesday night – which leads the majority faction in The Senate noted it would be “the longest night of the year”.

In a letter to colleagues on Monday, Schumer frankly blamed Manchin, senator from West Virginia, for what he called “deep discontent and frustration” in the Democratic caucus.

Schumer’s intervention comes a day after Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, explicitly rejected Biden’s top $1.75 billion social spending bill, will make unprecedented investments in early childhood education, public health care and efforts to combat climate change.

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I can not. I have tried everything humanly possible. I can’t go there,” Manchin said on Fox News Sunday, after weeks of intense negotiations with the White House and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

Manchin, who has opposed specific components of the Build Back Better bill — including the introduction of paid family and medical leave for all American workers — also took issue with the rule. the absolute size of the spending bill, stating that more fiscal constraints are needed at a time of rising inflation.

The White House has argued that the cost of the package would be largely offset by increased taxes on the wealthy and large companies. This month, the left-wing advocacy group Invest in America published an open letter signed by more than 50 economists, including former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder, arguing that the package would counter the price hikes. consumption by cutting costs for things like childcare and utilities.

Schumer on Monday emphasized Manchin’s intervention won’t “prevent” Democrats from “continuing to try to find a way forward,” adding that lawmakers should expect a vote on the bill in early 2022.

Schumer’s remarks were echoed by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, who said at an event in San Francisco that she was “not at all discouraged.” “I am confident that Senator Manchin cares about our country and that at some point, very soon, we can implement the legislation,” Pelosi said.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Biden is “no stranger to legislative challenges,” adding: “We will continue to take steps, working like hell, to get it done. it”.

But the package as written will almost certainly fail in a Senate controlled by Democrats by the thinnest margins. Manchin’s vote is crucial to securing majority support, as Democrats hold the senate, 50-50, with vice president Kamala Harris able to vote indecisively and without Republicans who voiced support for this package.

The West Virginia senator shows no signs of backing down since he intervened over the weekend. In fact, Manchin looks set to go deeper on Monday, lashing out at the White House in an interview with a local radio station in West Virginia. Manchin’s comments suggest that his grievances with the White House are both personal and policy related.

“They thought for sure with God that we could move a person. Sure, we can beat one,” Manchin said. “Well guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they come from, [where] they could only defeat those who were alive and thought they would submit. “

Manchin added: “I have just come to the smart end. “And they know the real reason what happened. . . It’s not the president, but the staff. They drove some things and they brought up some things that are completely inexcusable.”

The White House, which issued a scathing statement following Manchin’s interview with Fox News on Sunday, did not directly respond to the senator’s latest comments. But in a Hill article on Monday, Washington columnist and Manchin confidant Steve Clemons hinted that the senator had left the negotiating table after being disqualified in a statement. press release from the White House last week.

“When I saw Manchin’s name in the president’s statement, I knew he would consider it a violation of process, a violation of morale, a violation of Joe, and Joe is working on this,” Clemons said, noting that Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona who also took issue with parts of Biden’s economic agenda, was not named by the White House.

Clemons suggested that lawmakers and the White House could regroup “when the weather cools down after the holidays” and find a new deal to meet Manchin’s demands.

But tensions remained high at the president’s party during the countdown to Christmas, even as Manchin gave the behind-the-scenes information to his colleagues.

Pramila Jayapal, the Democratic congresswoman who presides over the radical caucus of the House of Representatives, knocked out the senator on Monday, saying that while she did take a call from Manchin this week, she believes that the senator betrayed the trust of fellow legislators by “backing his word”.

“That lack of integrity is truly astounding in a town where people say the only thing you have is your word,” says Jayapal.

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