| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Biden, Manchin discussed social spending bill after U.S. senator’s rejection

According to a White House aide, President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin discussed the “Build Back Better” bill on Friday, a day after the conservative Democratic senator openly criticized the president’s social spending plans.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House council of economic advisors, stated, “He (Biden) has some confidence in that (bill), including meetings he has had with Senator Manchin.”

“The president and Senator Manchin were chatting again the day after the senator announced he couldn’t vote for the package in its current form.”

Reuters previously reported that Biden and Manchin made no significant progress in the talks after Manchin’s rejection of the plan earlier in December but aides felt reassured that lines of communication were still open and cordial. Biden told reporters this week that the pair have not spoken since then.

Manchin’s rejection imperils the legislation because his support is crucial in the Senate where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the chamber would vote on a package in early 2022.

Manchin’s move prompted investment bank Goldman Sachs to lower its forecasts for U.S. economic growth. Manchin’s rejection of the bill threatened to scuttle hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for measures to fight climate change and meet the Biden administration’s climate goals.

Manchin has expressed concerns about a number of proposals in Biden’s signature domestic policy bill, including multiple climate proposals and extending monthly child tax credit payments.

Biden told reporters after Manchin’s rejection that he and the senator were “going to get something done” on the legislation.

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a leading liberal House Democrat, has asked Biden to continue focusing on the social spending legislation and urged him to use executive action despite Manchin’s public rejection of the plan.

  • Reuters