US Vice President Kamala Harris (R) listens as President Joe Biden remarks on his proposed “Build Back Better” social spending bill in the East Room of the White House on October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s Social Spending and Climate Change Act has stalled in the Senate and nearly dashed Democratic hopes of passing it this year.

Senator Joe Manchin, a Conservative Democrat who alone can block his party’s plan, has not signed the $ 1.75 trillion proposal while his party waits to see if it complies with Senate rules. That means any vote on the bill is likely to slide into 2022, when the upcoming mid-term elections only add to the strong political pressure surrounding the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday his party would “keep working to put the Senate in a position where we can vote on the President’s Build Back Better legislation”. He didn’t mention his goal of getting the plan approved by Christmas – a goal he’s been repeating for weeks.

When asked on Wednesday whether he thinks the law can be passed this year, Biden said, “I hope so. It’s going to be tight. “

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If the plan is not adopted in 2021, this will have immediate effects. The expanded child tax credit of up to $ 300 per month per child expires at the end of the year unless Congress extends it. The last payments to families went out on Wednesday, and the Build Back Better Act would extend them for a year.

Manchin on Wednesday rejected a report alleging opposition to expanding the larger child tax deduction is holding the bill. He said he was “always in favor of child tax credits” before he was irritated by reporters asking him about the legislation, according to NBC News.

“I don’t negotiate with any of you all, okay?” he said. “So you can ask any questions you want – folks, let me go. This is cops —. You are cops —. OK. I’m done, I’m done! “

A source familiar with the discussions told NBC News that the conversations between Biden and Machin went “very badly” and that they were “far apart” from the proposal.

The Democrats are considering options to continue child tax deduction through a separate bill. It is unclear how they would pass the renewal as they likely won’t garner the 10 Republican votes it takes to break a filibuster.

If the bill hits a wall, the Senate will move on to other priorities. Senate Democrats have discussed possible instruments to bypass the filibuster and pass a voting law in the coming weeks without Republican support.

Biden supported a possible push to pass electoral laws in the final days of the year.

“There is nothing more important at home than the right to vote. It is the greatest,” he said on Wednesday.

The idea of ​​using a temporary filibuster carveout gained momentum after Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Voted for a similar tactic to get the debt ceiling hike this week. Democrats tried to pass federal voting rights this year after several states passed restrictive electoral laws, but Republicans stalled their efforts and insisted that states control the elections.

US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) takes a break from remarks to reporters in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, November 1, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Delays in the passage of the Build Back Better Act would have wider implications than the Senate’s plans. Democrats see the legislation as a transformative package that would make child and health care more affordable, provide families with additional financial support, and make the largest investment in climate change mitigation in the country’s history. The longer it hangs in the balance, the Democrats continue to grapple with the appearance of not getting through for their constituents.

Republicans call it an excessive spending plan that would fuel inflation. Failure of the bill would provide energy to Democrats as ineffective as they continue to criticize their platform.

The fate of the legislation could affect halfway through. The Democrats have been looking for advances to sell to the electorate, as it appears that Republicans are favored to regain control of the House of Representatives – and possibly the Senate.

Biden’s approval ratings have fallen despite economic aid from the Democrats this year and the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Voters may not see the benefits of the infrastructure package for months or years.

Manchin did not rule out voting in favor of the pending law on social spending and climate. But even after urging his party to cut the price of the plan from $ 3.5 trillion to $ 1.75 trillion, he raised concerns about its cost and the potential to increase inflation.

When asked Wednesday about Schumer’s Christmas goal to pass the bill, Manchin noted that the Senate MP has not decided what the Democrats can include in the final package.

“We have nothing to vote on!” he said.

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