Manchin gives a big new blow to Biden’s hopes for social spending, climate policy bill

A clearly frustrated Senator Joe Manchin, who gave President Joe Biden’s hopes of getting his agenda passed a new and heavy blow, said Monday that the House Democrats should “stop playing games” with the $ 1 trillion top partisan infrastructure bill and told progressive lawmakers in the lower part of the country. chamber that “holding the bill hostage” will not earn his support of the $ 1.75 trillion social spending package.

The West Virginia Democrat underscored his objections by convening an unusual press conference and suggested that it would take much longer to reach an agreement – if at all possible – on Biden’s “Build Back Better” package, even as Biden and It White House was hoping for. passage this week to support Biden while on his overseas journey.

On Monday, at an international conference on tackling climate change, he announced the measure’s provisions to combat the problem.

The House Progressives have repeatedly withheld support for the two-tier infrastructure bill – or “BIF” for the two-tier infrastructure framework – by using it as leverage to ensure that several of their priorities, many of which Manchin opposes, are included in the social spending bill. and climate policy.

“The political games have to stop. Twice, Parliament has now rejected the possibility of sending the BIF legislation to the President,” Manchin said, urging Parliament to hold an up-and-down vote on the bill. “Holding this bill hostage will not help get my support for the Atonement Act.”

Monday’s remarks from Manchin are very unusual, with Biden coming on the world stage and his economic agenda hanging in a balance. Manchin said he was trying to clarify “mischaracterizations” of his stance, which he said have been made since Biden met with the House Democrats last Thursday – just before he traveled abroad.

Within minutes, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement addressing Manchin’s concerns, saying Biden White House was “sure” he would join.

“Senator Manchin says he is ready to support a Build Back Better plan that fights inflation, is financially responsible and will create jobs,” her statement said. “The plan that the house is completing meets these tests – it is fully paid for, will reduce the deficit and reduce the costs of health care, childcare, elderly care and housing. Experts agree: Seventeen Nobel Prize-winning economists have said it will reduce inflation As a result, we remain confident that the plan will win the support of Senator Manchin. “

Manchin said he continues to work in good faith to find a compromise reconciliation package, but appeared to be shouting at progressives because of their unwillingness to shake.

“It’s obvious that a compromise is not good enough for my colleagues in Congress,” Manchin said, referring to the progressives. “It’s all or nothing. And the attitude does not seem to change unless we agree on everything. Enough is enough.”

Although the administration has repeatedly said that social spending and the climate bill cost $ 1.75 trillion, Manchin said the real cost is actually a lot higher, calling much of what he sees in the context of “budget gimmicks” and ” shell game “.

To bring the overall price of the larger bill down, Democrats have proposed setting up some key programs earlier than first proposed. The child tax deduction, for example, would only be extended for one year. Grants under the Affordable Care Act would be extended by only three years, and free universal pre-K would be a six-year program.

“I would not support a bill that is so cohesive without a thorough understanding of the impact it will have on our national debt, our economy, and most importantly, the American people.”

He reiterated his concerns about inflation, the insolvency of social security network programs and the growing government debt. He opposes the expansion of Medicare, a key priority for progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I will not support reconciliation legislation without knowing how the bill will affect our debt and our economy and our country, and we will not know until we work through the text,” Manchin said.

Congressional Progressive Caucus President Pramila Jayapal appeared on CNN just moments after Manchin’s press conference and said Parliament was on track to pass both the Infrastructure Act and the larger Social Expenditure Act as soon as this week.

But getting Senator Manchin on board to support the bill on social spending is entirely up to President Joe Biden, she repeated several times throughout the interview.

“The president said he thinks he can get 51 votes for this bill. We will trust him. We will do our job in Parliament and let the Senate do its job, but we are tired of, you know, just. .. continue to wait for one or two people, “Jayapal said, referring to Manchin and another Democratic holdout in the Senate, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Asked if she has any direct talks with Manchin to get him on board, Jayapal replied, “I let the president have these talks.”

When Jayapal was asked if she had an answer to Manchin’s claims that the negotiations have been full of “must-play” and “budget tips”, Jayapal refused to get involved.

“I hope every senator, including those who want to talk about where we are in the negotiations, understand that we are getting ready to pass a $ 555 billion bill through the House of Representatives to invest in taking on “Climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. significantly so that we can achieve the reductions, emissions targets that the President is talking about and that the world expects us to see. That is our job,” she said.

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