Life support

Joe Manchin just put the Build Back Better Act on Life Support

The bipartisan bill passed through the House in November, with Democratic leaders rallying most of their members to vote for the measure with the promise that the Build Back Better Act would also gain support from moderates in both chambers. Only six Progressive Democrats voted against the bipartisan bill, due to skepticism about Manchin’s willingness to support the Build Back Better Act, skepticism that now appears to have been justified.

Representative Cori Bush, one of six progressives to vote against the bipartisan bill, told MSNBC on Sunday morning that Manchin’s decision was “not a huge surprise” and that she was part of a group who “said for weeks” that this would happen. Representative Pramila Jayapal, who is chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus but voted for a bipartisan bill, said in a statement on Sunday: “Senator Joe Manchin promised President Biden to support a framework that would help lower health care costs, cap the price of insulin and other prescription drugs, lower child care costs for Americans, to fight the climate crisis and give the working people and the poor people a blow in America. Today, Senator Manchin has betrayed his commitment not only to the President and the Democrats in Congress, but especially to the American people. He regularly boasts that he is a man of his word, but he can no longer say it.

There were a few pressing issues Democrats had hoped to resolve by passing the Build Back Better Act as soon as possible. But since the Senate does not vote on the bill until it returns to Washington in January, if it votes on the bill, that means the expanded child tax credit will expire at the end of the month. The credit, which had been improved by a coronavirus relief measure in March, had been disbursed in monthly installments at a higher value. It also, for the first time, reached Americans too poor to file income taxes, who will now stop receiving aid in January. The program provided payments to more than 35 million American families with children and was expected to lift millions of children out of poverty. (Another provision of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House was a four-year extension of a tax that funds a program to aid veteran coal miners with black lung disease, which directly affects the Manchin State in West Virginia.)

Manchin has long been skeptical of the child tax credit, which was extended for a year in the house version of the Build Back Better Act. In recent weeks, Manchin has raised concerns that the credit, if extended for ten years, would cost around $ 1.5 trillion, and accused his colleagues of using budget tricks to make the cost of the invoice appear lower. A Congressional Budget Office score requested by Republicans found that the Build Back Better law would increase the deficit by $ 3 trillion over ten years, although Democrats argued that this ignored sources of revenue. (Tax cuts approved by Republicans in 2017 added $ 2 trillion to the deficit.)

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