Stalled $ 2T Bill, Senate MPs Seem Ready To Move On For Now
WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats ‘broad social and environmental package languished in Senate limbo on Thursday as leaders’ hopes of solving the problem …
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Democrats ‘broad social and environmental package languished in Senate limbo on Thursday as leaders’ hopes to resolve Senator Joe Manchin’s demands and consider the bill in the final days of this year seemed almost dead.
After weeks of setting a Christmas target to move the roughly $ 2 trillion 10-year package across the chamber, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., barely mentioned the legislation in the House. start of the day.
Instead, he described Democrats’ efforts to break the deadlock on voting rights legislation and a stack of nominations the Senate will consider “as we continue to work to bring the Senate to a position where we can move forward âon the social and environmental bill.
It was not clear whether Democrats would be able to win Manchin, DW.Va., without decisive intervention from President Joe Biden. So far, Biden’s talks with Manchin have appeared to be stalled.
Illinois Senate Democrat No. 2 Richard Durbin joked to reporters that Manchin “camped in the Lincoln room and has his own parking lot at the White House, he’s been there so often” and said he “couldn’t ask Joe Biden to do more” to try and come to an agreement with Manchin.
Using his influence in a 50-50 Senate where Democrats need unanimity to prevail, Manchin has continued his efforts to force his party to lower the cost of the bill and eliminate programs he opposes. All Republicans oppose the package, which carries many of Biden’s overarching national priorities.
The difficult status of the Biden-Manchin talks was described on Wednesday by a person who spoke only on condition of anonymity. The person said Manchin was pushing to scrap the extended child tax credit extended benefit bill, a keystone of Democratic efforts to reduce child poverty.
Manchin told reporters on Wednesday that claims he wanted to scrap the child tax credit enhancements were “a lot of bad rumors.” When asked if he supported the elimination of one of the Bill’s child tax credit enhancements – monthly checks sent to millions of families – he replied, “I am not negotiating with. none of you.
Adding further doubt about swift Senate action this year, Biden suggested Democrats should instead prioritize voting rights legislation, a main party goal Republicans have long blocked. Democrats face an uphill battle over the electoral measure, but focusing on it would allow them to wage a battle that energizes party voters as lawmakers work behind the scenes on the social and environmental bill.
When asked if Congress should quickly review voting legislation and postpone the $ 2 trillion bill until next year, Biden told reporters: “If we can get the voting rights in Congress, we should do it. ” He added: âThere is nothing more important at the national level than the right to vote. Biden spoke as he visited tornado damage in Dawson Springs, Ky.
All of this produced a day of confusion in the Senate, where lawmakers and grassroots aides said they knew nothing about the legislation the chamber would tackle next, when and if it won.
Letting social and environmental legislation slip into the next year, when congressional elections take place, would bode well for the bill’s ultimate prospects.
With Democrats having missed previous self-imposed deadlines on the push, another delay would fuel Republicans’ accusations that they are incompetently running a government they control. Democrats are bracing for the November election, when the GOP has a real chance of gaining control of the House and Senate.
Word of Manchin’s position sparked a backlash from his colleagues, whom he frustrated for months with constant requests to reduce the size and scope of the bill. The measure also has money for health care, universal preschool and climate change programs, largely funded by tax increases on big business and the wealthy.
Durbin said “the level of emotion” among Democrats over the child tax credit “is very high” and said he was “stunned” when he heard of Manchin’s demands.
Manchin wanted the overall price of the 10-year bill to fall below $ 2 trillion. He also wants all of his programs to last the entire decade.
The current bill would extend the enhanced child tax credit for only one year, a device to contain the cost of the bill. Renewing enhanced benefits for 10 years would increase its current one-year cost from about $ 100 billion to over $ 1,000 billion, and doing so while reducing the overall size of the bill would wreak havoc on the others. Democrats’ priorities in the bill.
The Treasury Department says the expanded tax credit has helped the families of 61 million children.
Another hurdle for Democrats is a tedious scrutiny by Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough on whether many provisions in the bill violate House rules and should be scrapped. His written opinions on this, including on arrangements for many migrants to stay in the United States temporarily, may not be ready until the weekend or later.
When asked if he would provide a crucial vote to start the Senate debate on legislation without MacDonough’s rulings, Manchin said: “Everyone wants to see it, not just me.”
Manchin’s other demands include the removal of a new requirement for paid family leave. The disputes between other lawmakers center on how to increase federal tax deductions for state and local taxes.
The House approved its version of the legislation in November.
PA Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press Editors Colleen Long and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.
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