AP source: Biden and Manchin are sharply divided on $2T Dem bill

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Senator Joe Manchin and President Joe Biden are believed to be at odds over Democrats' massive social and environmental bill. The holdout senator is pushing to eliminate the measure's child tax credit. Leaders' hopes of passing legislation before Christmas seem to be fading.

AP source: Biden and Manchin are sharply divided on $2T Dem bill

According to a source familiar with the talks, the rocky state of their talks was one of many indicators that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is struggling to even start debate on the huge measure. Schumer, D.N.Y. has set a goal to pass the $10 trillion, roughly $2TILLION measure by Christmas in an effort to end the eight-months of party infighting over it.

Many Democrats view the expanded child credit as the bill's main weapon in the fight against child poverty. It is also one of the most important provisions that has helped to unify Democrats behind the legislation.

Manchin stated to reporters that he doesn't want to remove the child credit provisions. He also said that there are "a lot" of "bad rumors" about Manchin.

Biden suggested that Senate Democrats prioritize voting rights legislation as a way to improve the prospects of the bill. This is a key party goal that Republicans have been unable to achieve for years. While Democrats will face a difficult fight over the voting measure, focusing on it could help them win a battle that ignites their voters while legislators work behind-the scenes on the social/environment bill.

Biden answered reporters when asked if Congress should speedily consider the voting legislation, delaying the $2 trillion bill until next year. He said, "If we are able to get the congressional voting rights done. We should." Biden was speaking as he toured the destruction caused by tornadoes in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

All this created confusion in the Senate. Both rank-and-file senators and their aides claimed they didn't know anything about the next legislation that the chamber would address, or when they would win.

The bill's future prospects would be severely affected if the legislation on social and environmental issues is allowed to slip into next year's congressional elections. To overcome strong Republican opposition to the bill which encompasses many of Biden’s most important domestic goals, the party will need the support of all 50-50 Senate members.

After Democrats have pushed past the previously set deadlines for the measure, any further delay could fuel Republican accusations of incompetence running a government that they control. The Democrats are preparing for November elections, when the GOP stands a chance to win control of both the House and Senate.

The stance of Manchin drew a backlash from his colleagues. He's been frustrated by the constant demands for reducing the bill's scope and size for months. Also included in the measure are funds for universal prekindergarten, climate change programs, and health care. They were largely funded by tax increases on large corporations and the wealthy.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. was the Chairman of Senate Budget Committee. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chairman of Senate Budget Committee said that if "Mr.

A time-consuming review by Elizabeth MacDonough (Senate parliamentarian) about whether the bill's provisions are in violation of chamber rules is another impediment for Democrats. The Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough may not have her written opinions ready by the weekend, or later, on issues such as allowing many migrants to remain temporarily in the U.S.

Manchin was asked if he would provide a pivotal vote for Senate debate to start the legislation without MacDonough rulings. He replied, "Everyone wants it to see, not just myself."

Biden and Manchin spoke by telephone about the legislation at minimum twice this week.

Manchin stated recently that he would like all programs to continue for the full 10-year period of the bill, but also that the bill's cost should not exceed $2 trillion. The legislation extends only one year the additional child tax credit benefits, which otherwise would expire Dec. 31. These are among many temporary measures Democrats have proposed to reduce costs.

It is estimated that a one-year extension would cost more than $100 trillion. It would cost over $1 trillion to extend it for a decade, which would likely eat away at other Democratic priorities.

The bill increases the maximum credit, provides coverage for 17-year olds, and allows many benefits to be paid monthly checks instead of receiving annual refunds from IRS. According to the Treasury Department, 61 million children's families have benefited.

The Senate must first resolve Manchin's demands that the bill be reduced in cost and eliminate provisions he opposed, before the overall bill can reach the floor. There are many disputes among lawmakers about how to increase federal tax deductions for local and state taxes.

Schumer has set the Senate to be in session during the week of January 3, possibly giving lawmakers time to get back to work quickly on the bill. In election years, Congress rarely meets in January.