Democrats appear to be losing hope that they will be able to pass a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda in 2021.
The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, which allocates massive amounts of funding to social and environmental programs, needs 50 votes to pass the Senate. But Democrats only control 50 seats in the upper chamber of Congress, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of Virginia, widely seen as a moderate, is apparently not on board.
As NBC News reported Wednesday, “Talks between Manchin and Biden are going ‘very poorly,’ according to a source familiar with the talks.”
The outlet added that due to Manchin’s stance and several other factors, a vote on the legislation could be delayed until March.
A Daily Mail report conveyed something similar.
“Manchin has talked with Biden and they are still miles apart,” a source described as being “familiar with the talks” said.
In its own reporting on the matter, Politico also said Biden and Manchin do not appear close to an agreement.
“The talks between [Biden] and Manchin have been going very poorly. They are far apart,” an anonymous source told the outlet.
According to Politico, Manchin has floated the idea of removing child tax credit payments from the legislation.
When asked about that this week, Manchin grew testy with reporters.
“I’ve always been for child tax credits. We voted for it many times,” he said.
“This is bull—-,” the West Virginia Democrat added. “You’re bull—-.”
As The Washington Post reported, Manchin is concerned about the legislation’s price tag.
“A longtime holdout on the package, Manchin for months has maintained concerns that Democrats are spending too much, and too quickly, potentially compounding the risks of inflation at a time when prices are rising at a rapid clip,” the outlet said.
“In private negotiations with the president, Manchin has maintained that Democrats should spend no more than $1.75 trillion,” The Post added, citing an unnamed source.