President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate policy bill has stalled in the Senate, all but extinguishing Democrats’ hopes of passing it this year.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat who alone can block his party’s plan, has not signed off on the $1.75 trillion proposal as his party waits to see whether it complies with Senate rules. It means any vote on the bill will likely slip into 2022, when the coming midterm elections will only heighten the sharp political pressure surrounding the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said his party will “continue working on getting the Senate into a position where we can vote on the president’s Build Back Better legislation.” He did not mention his goal of approving the plan by Christmas — a target date he has repeated for weeks.
Asked Wednesday if he believes the bill can pass this year, Biden said, “I hope so. It’s going to be close.”
Failure to pass the plan in 2021 will have immediate impacts. The enhanced child tax credit of up to $300 a month per child will expire at the end of the year unless Congress extends it. The last payments to families went out Wednesday, and the Build Back Better Act would renew them for a year.
Manchin on Wednesday denied a report that his opposition to extending the bigger child tax credit is holding up the bill. He said he has “always been for child tax credits,” before growing irritated with reporters asking him about the legislation, according to NBC News.
“I’m not negotiating with any of you all, okay?” he said. “So you can ask all the questions you want — guys, let me go. This is bulls—. You’re bulls—. Okay. I’m done, I’m done!”
A source familiar with the discussions told NBC News that talks between Biden and Machin have