Democrats attempt to "build back" $2T Manchin tank bill

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Democrats are still struggling to pick up the pieces following President Joe Biden's massive domestic policy bill being effectively defeated by Sen. Joe Manchin. They are now unsure if the $2 trillion initiative will be refashioned in order to win Joe Manchin's crucial vote, or if the party will suffer a crushing defeat.

Democrats attempt to "build back" $2T Manchin tank bill

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised that the chamber would vote on Biden’s "Build Back better Act" so every senator had the chance to voice their opinion on the floor. This was in reference to Manchin’s Sunday TV protest against the bill.

According to someone familiar with the call, Biden and Manchin spoke later on Sunday. This was first reported by Politico. The person speaking on condition anonymity said that it was cordial, respectful and polite.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat is so far from his party, and their relationships are so damaged after months of failed negotiations, it's not clear how they will even get back on the negotiating table to revive the 2,100-page climate change and social services bill.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said that "We're going work like hell to achieve it," repeating the phrase at briefings but not saying how.

This setback puts Biden's signature legislative initiative in deep doubt at a crucial time. It closes out the president's first-year and sets the stage for congressional midterm elections, when Democrats hold a slim grip on Congress. It is in danger.

Manchin's vote, along with strong Republican opposition, is crucial in the 50-50 split Senate over this and other initiatives. This includes the priority voting rights legislation by the Democrats that Schumer promised would be put to an early vote.

Psaki, speaking from the White House, was more conciliatory than her weekend hardball response to Manchin. She said that Biden is a longtime friend and that the president is focused on moving forward.

Kamala Harris, Vice President of Kamala Harris, told CBS News that the stakes were too high for it to be about any one individual. She stated that "This is about let’s get the job done."

Manchin is deeply involved in politics in a state where Biden lost decisively. This leaves him with little to gain by aligning too closely to fellow Democrats. It raises new questions about whether he still holds a place within the party.

He reiterated his belief that the Social and Environment Bill has too much government spending on child care and health programs, without any restrictions on income or work requirements, in a Monday radio interview.

When asked if there is still room in the party, the lifelong Democrat was less specific. He described himself as "fiscally accountable and socially compassionate."

Manchin stated: "Now, if they don't have Democrats like that then they must push me wherever I want."

After months of negotiations, he lashed at Senate staff members and Biden as well as the White House, and criticized hardline tactics used against him by those who he claimed "just beat the living crap out" of people and thought they would be submissive.

For the president and his party, the next steps are highly uncertain. Biden, who was returning from Delaware, met with Congress to discuss his options. His proposals and the president's reputation for being a veteran legislator who wants the country to work are in jeopardy.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a leader in the progressive caucus spoke with Manchin Monday morning, but she emerged to warn her colleagues that the senator was untrustworthy and "went back on his promise."

Jayapal stated that Democrats are working with the White House to find alternative ways of achieving the bill's goals via executive or administrative actions.

She said, "We cannot repeat the same mistakes twice" during a conference call with progressives. "We can't hang the futures for millions of Americans on one man's words."

Manchin's desire for a reimagined bill to address a few top priorities and for longer duration seemed to be of interest to the White House. This was in contrast with the complex and broad House-passed version.

It will be extremely difficult for Democrats of the progressive and centrist parties to regain trust in order to start a new round of negotiations after Biden has spent much of his first year as president to what is now an abandoned effort.

Manchin, for example, wants to authorise social programs for all 10 years of a standard window budget -- not just a few as Democrats would in order to lower the price. This would result in painful cuts elsewhere in this package.

Despite Biden's lengthy courtship with Manchin, Senator Biden has made it clear that the Democrats bill doesn't fit his vision for what the country needs. This is despite the fact that many of his residents are low-income and in dire need of the child care, education, and health services the bill would provide.

This comprehensive package is one of the largest ever considered by Congress. It will unleash billions of dollars to assist American families across the country. Nearly all of it will be paid for by higher taxes on corporations, the wealthy, and other income taxes.

It would offer free pre-school and child support for families with children. Subsidies are available for premiums on health insurance, as well as lower prescription drug prices and expanded Medicaid access in those states that don't yet offer it. This bill would create a new program to provide hearing aids for seniors. It also includes over $500 billion for carbon emission reductions, which is the largest federal expenditure to combat climate change.

Biden's party faces a new deadline with the expiration on an expanded child credit. This credit has been sending $300 per month directly to millions families' bank accounts. The money will not arrive in January if Congress fails to act.

According to an anonymous source, talks between Biden and Manchin ended in a final round last Wednesday that became heated.

Manchin, in a shocking repudiation of his party's leadership, gave his staff a 20-minute warning that he was about announce his opposition to the bill.

It brought back the famous thumbs down vote of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that ended Trump's 2017 attempt to repeal the Obama-era health care law.

Republicans hail Manchin as a maverick. But Democrats and the White House were relentless in their criticism.

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, struck a positive chord at an event held in her San Francisco District. She said, "This will happen." "I am not discouraged at all."

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