McConnell says the 'best Christmas gift' for Americans is demise of Build Back Better bill 1

McConnell says the ‘best Christmas gift’ for Americans is demise of Build Back Better bill

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated on the Senate floor Thursday that President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion Build Back Better bill had been stalled. 

‘Yesterday we got indications the far-left’s slapdash sprint may be hitting the pause button. Well, that would certainly be great news for the American people,’ McConnell said. ‘The best Christmas gift Washington could give American families would be putting this bad bill on ice.’

One sign that Build Back Better was on the rocks was renewed attention from Democrats to voting rights legislation. 

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On the floor Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted voting rights bills ‘done in time for the 2022 elections.’ 

He mentioned the House-passed Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. 

At the White House Thursday, Biden held a Zoom call with Democrats including Sens. Schumer, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Amy Klobuchar, Jeff Merkely Jon Tester, Raphael Warnock and Joe Manchin. 

Manchin possesses the Democrats’ key 50th vote to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill – and without his support, the legislation fails.  

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated on the Senate floor Thursday that President Joe Biden 's $1.8 trillion Build Back Better bill had been stalled

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated on the Senate floor Thursday that President Joe Biden ‘s $1.8 trillion Build Back Better bill had been stalled

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted voting rights bills 'done in time for the 2022 elections'

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted voting rights bills ‘done in time for the 2022 elections’ 

Asked at Thursday's press briefing, if that meant Biden wanted voting rights bills to leapfrog a vote on Build Back Better, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn't give a straight answer

Asked at Thursday’s press briefing, if that meant Biden wanted voting rights bills to leapfrog a vote on Build Back Better, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t give a straight answer

President Joe Biden didn't answer questions on Build Back Better later Thursday afternoon when he made a brief statement at the top of his meeting with COVID-19 adviser

President Joe Biden didn’t answer questions on Build Back Better later Thursday afternoon when he made a brief statement at the top of his meeting with COVID-19 adviser

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During his trip to Kentucky Wednesday, the president was asked as Build Back Better was sputtering if voting rights legislation should be dealt with first. 

‘They should do it,’ he answered. ‘There’s nothing more important, domestically, than voting rights. It’s the single biggest thing,’ Biden answered. 

Asked at Thursday’s press briefing, if that meant Biden wanted voting rights bills to leapfrog a vote on Build Back Better, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t give a straight answer.  

Biden, she said, ‘will continue to work with Congress to get this done,’ not providing additional details. 

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Jean-Pierre also wouldn’t give a status update on where Build Back Better stood. 

She said ‘there were a number of conversations happening behind the scenes,’ but wouldn’t get into them.  

‘I’m not in a position to give you an update,’ she told reporters. 

Biden didn’t answer questions on Build Back Better later Thursday afternoon when he made a brief statement at the top of his meeting with COVID-19 advisers.

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Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal

Rep. Cori Bush

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (left) and Rep. Cori Bush (right) voiced frustrations that Sen. Joe Manchin has seemingly held up a vote on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill until next year 

Sen. Joe Manchin is the pivotal 50th vote Senate Democrats need for passage of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill

Sen. Joe Manchin is the pivotal 50th vote Senate Democrats need for passage of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill

Earlier, progresssives were grumbling that Manchin had stalled the bill.  

‘God bless Sen. Manchin, but he does love to keep everyone guessing until the very end,’ Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said Wednesday.    

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Rep. Cori Bush, who was among the six House Democrats who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure package over fears BBB would die in the Senate, sent out a statement Wednesday complaining about how much power Manchin has.  

‘I put my reputation on the line to make it clear that if we want to deliver the entire, much-needed, and long overdue Biden agenda, we must not undermine our power as a government nor the power of the people by placing the fate of Build Back Better at the feet of one Senator: Joe Manchin,’ Bush said.    

On Wednesday, Manchin snapped at reporters after it came out that his opposition to the Child Tax Credit killed Biden’s hopes for the Senate to pass the legislation by Christmas.   

‘This is b******t. You’re b******t,’ the West Virginia senator yelled at Arthur Delaney, a reporter for HuffPost Politics, who asked him about reports that the Child Tax Credit has become a major sticking point in his talks with the White House. 

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‘I’m done, I’m done,’ Manchin fumed as the questions continued. 

‘Guys, I’m not negotiating with any of you all. You can ask all the questions you want. Guys, let me go,’ he told the press as he walked through the basement of the Capitol, muttering ‘God almighty’ as he walked away. 

It was the second blow up from the day from the senator, who is taking the blame from Democrats for the failure to move forward on Biden’s signature legislation. Manchin has refused to support the bill as it stands and, in the evenly divided Senate, the president needs every Democratic vote.

He’s become an object of intense focus in the past few months. Reporters stalk him out in every nook, cranny and hallway of the Capitol building; protesters wait for him outside the Capitol building and around his house boat; and his is being perpetually wooed by both parties for his vote. 

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On Wednesday he snapped. 

Tensions are rising as the clock ticks to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s Christmas deadline. With only 10 days to go, signs point that deadline being missed, with a vote on Build Back Better being punted into the new year.

‘Manchin has talked with Biden and they are still miles apart,’ a person familiar with the talks told DailyMail.com. 

Manchin, speaking with another group of reporters, denied reports that child tax credit was the issue and said reporters are hearing ‘a lot of bad rumors.’

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‘I’m not opposed to child tax credit, I’ve never been opposed to child tax credit,’ he insisted.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin snapped after reports his opposition to the Child Tax Credit killed Joe Biden's hopes for the Senate to pass the president's Build Back Better bill by Christmas

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin snapped after reports his opposition to the Child Tax Credit killed Joe Biden’s hopes for the Senate to pass the president’s Build Back Better bill by Christmas 

Joe Manchin yelled at reporters in the basement of the Capitol; the West Virginia senator is constantly followed by press as he  is seen above, waiting for an elevator outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol

Joe Manchin yelled at reporters in the basement of the Capitol; the West Virginia senator is constantly followed by press as he  is seen above, waiting for an elevator outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol

At issue is Manchin’s insistence on cuts in Biden’s massive social safety net bill that funds education, health care, and climate programs.  

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The West Virginia senator was objecting to reports he wants to defund or limit the expanded Child Tax Credit, which most Democrats want to keep in Biden’s signature legislation. 

Compounding matters, the state of West Virginia is one of the biggest benefitters of the Child Tax Credit, which was expanded earlier this year in a COVID relief package. 

An estimated 346,000 West Virginia children – 93 percent of all kids in the state – live in households that qualify for the tax credit, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. 

But comes down to Manchin’s belief that the cost of Build Back Better bill should not more than $1.75 trillion, a source familiar with his thinking told Politico.

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‘Senator Manchin is not telling President Biden what to include or not include. He has always been supportive of the’ child tax credit, the source said. But the cost for extending the Child Tax Credit 10 years, which is the ultimate goal for Democrats, is about $1.4 trillion.

But any proposal to strip the child tax credit from Biden’s bill would likely be met with strong opposition from other Democratic lawmakers, who like the credit.

Democratic senators told The Hill newspaper that frustration with Manchin is rising, and many of them are fed up with his refusal to sign off on Biden’s signature domestic social spending proposal.

Talks are continuing but the Senate on Wednesday wrapped up its list of legislation it must pass by year’s end when it approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which funds the Pentagon. With the government funded until February 18th and the debt ceiling raised, lawmakers have done what needs to be done to keep the government running.

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So, Schumer will, instead, shift the chamber’s focus to trying to pass voting rights legislation, NBC News reported, as talks with Manchin continue.  

Biden, himself, admitted on Wednesday that his Build Back Better bill was not a done deal. 

‘It’s going to be close,’ Biden said when asked if his legislation will pass by the end of the year. 

He said ‘some’ progress has been made but didn’t offer any additional details. The president and Manchin spoke on Monday and Tuesday as negotiations continue.

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Reporters surround Senator Joe Manchin in his car on Tuesday night outside the Capitol

Reporters surround Senator Joe Manchin in his car on Tuesday night outside the Capitol 

Schumer said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that lawmakers would ‘continue working on getting the Senate into a position where we can vote on the President’s Build Back Better legislation.’

But he conceded the talks may not come to fruition.

‘If we can’t make too much progress, we will need to stay and hold votes on nominees this weekend and next week until we do,’ he noted. 

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He also said voting rights legislation remains a priority.

‘We’re also continuing to hold conversations as Senate Democrats on the urgent work of advancing the Freedom to Vote Act & John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,’ Schumer noted. 

A group of moderate Democrats is trying to negotiate a rules change on the voting rights bill that would allow it to move forward in the legislation process with just a simple majority – bypassing the Republican ability to filibuster. Talks continue on that matter. 

Wednesday marks the final day roughly 36 million families will see a payment from the IRS on the child tax credit. The monthly payments, which began July 15, were limited to 2021, and the last one is set for Wednesday. 

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The Build Back Better version passed by the House would extend the advance payments through next year. Manchin wants that cut from the Senate version, arguing it contributes to inflation.   

The next pay date for the child tax credit would be January 15, but lawmakers would need to pass something before December 28. 

The credit went from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child over the age of six and $2,000 to $3,600 for children under six. The bill also raised the age limit from 16 to 17, so all minors were included. 

All working families were doled out the money if they made up to $150,000 per couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent.  

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Earlier Wednesday, the White House stayed hopefully a deal can be made with Manchin. 

‘We believe the senator wants what we want, which is to deliver for the American people,’ deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. 

President Joe Biden admitted his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill was not a done deal

President Joe Biden admitted his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill was not a done deal

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has set a Christmas deadline to pass Build Back Better but it appears he will have to punt the legislation into the new year

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has set a Christmas deadline to pass Build Back Better but it appears he will have to punt the legislation into the new year

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No Republican senator is expected to support Biden’s bill, which contains funding for education programs, paid family medical leave and to fight climate change. 

The bill passed the House last month.

Compounding matters, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also has not pledged her support for the House-passed bill, which clocks in at 2,100 pages. 

Democrats have negotiated with her on her opposition to several of the tax increases they originally had proposed, increasing the difficulty of raising revenue to pay for the bill.

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The House-passed version of the legislation contains over $500 billion for clean energy projects plus tax incentives for utilities turning to less polluting fuels and people buying electric vehicles. There’s money for child care, job training, housing, free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, in-home care for seniors and new hearing benefits for Medicare recipients. 

There would be extended tax credits for families with children, for some low-earning workers and for people purchasing private health coverage.

In language that helped win support from lawmakers from high-cost coastal states, the bill would increase federal deductions people can take for state and local taxes. The provision, which would largely benefit affluent earners, would cost above $220 billion over the next five years, making it one of the legislation’s costliest programs.

The measure would also finance a new requirement for four weeks of paid family leave and create temporary work permits so millions of immigrants could remain in the U.S. up to a decade.

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Most of the bill’s costs come from mountains of new spending, though there are also hundreds of billions in tax credits for encouraging certain goals. 

Most of the bill would be paid for with tax boosts on the country’s highest earners, biggest corporations and companies doing business abroad. That includes new surtaxes on people earning over $10 million annually and a corporate minimum tax.  


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