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The Senate is tabling President Joe Biden’s signature Build Back Better legislation until next year over stalled negotiations with moderate Democrats, according to NBC News.
“[Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] is likely to push a vote on the Build Back Better plan until next year, according to four sources familiar with the leaders’ plans,” NBC News reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell said.
“He doesn’t have the votes as [Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)] remains noncommittal,” Caldwell continued. “Schumer is still holding out hope for action on voting rights this year, multiple sources tell us. They are hoping for agreement on a rules change between four moderates who have been meeting,” she added, referring to Manchin and Sens. Jon Tester (D-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME).
BIG NEWS: Schumer is likely to push a vote on the Build Back Better plan until next year, according to four sources familiar with the leaders' plans. w/ @JulieNBCNews
He doesn't have the votes as Manchin remains noncommittal
— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) December 15, 2021
The Build Back Better plan would overhaul U.S. health care, education, climate, immigration, and tax laws and extend a host of COVID-19 programs and spending. But without Manchin’s vote, Schumer lacks the support necessary to overcome the 50-seat Republican caucus in the chamber. A vote on the bill could be pushed back to March over Manchin’s reservations.
Schumer is also reportedly delaying the bill over disagreements about what should end up in the final package. As NBC News reports:
The decision is also in part because Senate Democrats haven’t finished negotiating the bill. Provisions on state and local taxes and the methane rule remain undecided. Senate Democrats also haven’t finished clearing all the procedural hurdles necessary to hold a vote.
Talks between the White House and Manchin have broken down over the size and scope of the bill. One particular sticking point is an extended increase of the child tax credit, a source told The Washington Post. Manchin and his office have pushed back against the allegations, calling it a product of “bad rumors.” He also said that he is “not opposed” to the child tax credit.
Democrats in the Senate are instead focusing on another attempt at passing legislation that would federalize a host of election processes and effectively undo GOP-backed election integrity bills that have been enacted in a number of states following the 2020 election.
Schumer and Democrats are trying to come up with a way to get around filibuster rules, which require that election legislation have a 60-vote majority to pass. Democrats are tinkering with potential rule changes that would allow them to pass the election overhaul with no GOP support. According to NBC News:
Senate Democrats are discussing changing the rules to allow for passage on a 50-vote majority, a move that remains uncertain. A group of four moderate Democrats, including Manchin, have held numerous meetings in the past several days to discuss a possible rule change. Additional meetings are planned for Wednesday.
“Schumer is hoping the small group working on voting rights rules change will find a path forward in the coming days,” a source familiar with discussions tells NBC News.