The White House’s Plan to Salvage Vice President Biden’s Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Reuters) – According to two people familiar with the plan, the White House is preparing an alternative to its $1.75 trillion spending bill that will keep climate change measures but reduce or eliminate items like the child tax credit and paid family leaves, in the hopes of appealing to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and other Democrats as soon as this week.
According to the sources, President Joe Biden’s administration would pivot from a long-shot attempt to carry voting rights legislation through the Senate on Tuesday and resume serious talks with lawmakers on a slimmed-down version of the Build Back Better measure.
As part of the effort to maintain parts of Biden’s economic and environmental agenda, White House climate czar Gina McCarthy and US Treasury officials will travel to Capitol Hill to confer with senators and staff on the bill, according to sources.
Manchin, a moderate Democrat, abruptly halted discussions on the spending bill just before Christmas, citing concerns about inflation, deficit spending, and an attempt to “reshape our civilization.”
Bqualms about the budget package, met with Biden, Manchin, and other Democrats at the White House on Thursday to discuss voting rights. Since the West Virginia senator’s unexpected statement last month, the president had not spoken to him. One person involved in the idea stated, “There needs to be a reset” in negotiations. “The question of what Manchin would accept is no longer a mystery. We need to get as close to what he can accept as feasible, and then there needs to be a personal request (from Biden) for his vote.”
The White House must persuade Manchin and any other Democratic holdouts to support the budget package, which is opposed by all 50 Republicans in the 100-seat Senate. If it passes, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, might vote to break the tie.
CREDITS FOR CHILDREN’S TAXES
According to these sources, the reworked bill would cost more than $1 trillion and would cut billions of dollars from social safety net programs like paid family leave, universal pre-kindergarten, and home health care.
It’s unclear which programs will be cut or eliminated outright. The White House and Democrats are considering raising the child tax credit and other social safety net programs’ income limits.
Limiting who receives child tax credits might tailor the money to lower-income families while also extending it for a decade, as Manchin has demanded. According to Columbia University research, the monthly payouts, which began in July 2021, lifted 3.6 million children out of poverty in October.
Manchin said earlier this month that he backed $555 billion in climate expenditures, including production tax credits for solar and wind businesses, which are viewed as critical to ensuring the US meets its 2030 carbon reduction targets, according to the sources.
Manchin’s backing of the cash is considered as a “fulcrum” for moving the package forward, allowing progressive-friendly social spending, such as the expansion of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, to be put on top.
Jarrett Renshaw and Andrea Shalal contributed reporting, and Heather Timmons and Paul Simao edited the piece.
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