Last week, I wrote that President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar cradle-to-grave budget bill was on ice and would not be passed in 2021.
Then, yesterday, the Build Back Better (BBB) Act hit an iceberg. Now, the bill is likely sunk.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin confirmed that he is a ‘no’ on the legislation. Given the 50-50 split in the Senate, this bill in its current form appears dead.
This is the Christmas miracle our nation needed. With rapid inflation and an economy fighting to recover amidst a new viral COVID-19 variant, injecting the economy with trillions of dollars in new federal spending will further fuel inflation and hamper our economy. Even more, new entitlement spending will discourage work as we struggle with a worker shortage and the expansion of the federal government into childcare and pre-K will erode parents’ choices and control.
Manchin is a ‘no’ on BBB
On Sunday in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Senator Manchin was asked about the bill. His response was direct and unambiguous:
In a statement, Manchin made his position even clearer:
My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.
The American people deserve transparency on the true cost of the Build Back Better Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined the cost is upwards of $4.5 trillion which is more than double what the bill’s ardent supporters have claimed. They continue to camouflage the real cost of the intent behind this bill.
As the Omicron variant spreads throughout communities across the country, we are seeing COVID-19 cases rise at rates we have not seen since the height of this pandemic. We are also facing increasing geopolitical uncertainty as tensions rise with both Russia and China. Our ability to quickly and effectively respond to these pending threats would be drastically hindered by our rising debt.
The Left explodes over Manchin’s position
The White House released a scathing statement alleging that Manchin breached his commitments and backtracked:
If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.
Liberals in the House and Senate sounded off:
Pundits are claiming that democracy is in jeopardy now.
Expect a lot more haranguing about Manchin’s position and calls for the filibuster to be eliminated.
The Left is simply upset that its sweeping partisan remake of the economy and generational expansion of entitlements is unlikely to pass.
This process has been entirely one-sided with no regard to the concerns of half of the country. President Biden did not win in a landslide nor did the American electorate hand him a mandate to enact far-left, socialist-embracing policies. Yet, that is what the BBB proposes.
This bill in its current form may be dead, but the Left may attempt to pass a smaller bill with fewer priorities on which they know they can get 50 affirmative votes. The White House plans to continue to press Manchin on the bill and see if he will “reverse his position yet again” and “be true to his word.”
There are a few key provisions that they may try to enact: the expanded child tax credit, which delivers monthly checks to millions of households; Affordable Care Act subsidies; and some climate change provisions.
As the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board opined, it’s time for President Biden to go back to the drawing board and start leading a nation of all Americans rather than half or a radical few:
… The Democratic left must now confront the limits of their power. Mr. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren thought they could bully their agenda through a 50-50 Senate, though they had both lost to Mr. Biden in the 2020 primaries. Their failure to narrow their ambitions doomed the bill.
Yet they somehow persuaded Mr. Biden that he had to govern from the left, in what has proven to be a catastrophic misjudgment. Someday we will learn why Mr. Biden made that decision, though perhaps it is as simple as the fact that throughout his career he has followed his party rather than lead it.
… But we’re not about to cheer lead three more years of presidential failure. Mr. Manchin offers Democrats a lifeline back from the abyss.
They are right. No one wants three more years of Biden’s first year.