Senior U.S. Senate Democrat vowed to vote on Biden’s $ 1.75 billion bill despite Manchin’s rejection

WASHINGTON, Dec.20 (Reuters) – The United States Senate will vote early next year on President Joe Biden’s sweeping $ 1.75 trillion political bill and voting rights, the most recent Monday said. top House Democrat, despite opposition from conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled plans for the two votes on Monday, the day after Manchin – who stood as an obstacle to many of Biden’s policies in the equally divided chamber – said in a television interview that he would not vote for “Build Back Better”, dealing a potentially fatal blow to him.

“The Senate will in fact be reviewing the Build Back Better Act very early in the New Year so that every member of this body has an opportunity to make their position known in the Senate, not just on television,” Schumer wrote in a letter to colleagues.

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Democrats need all of their members to pass legislation in the Senate. Biden and party leaders negotiated with Manchin for months to address his concerns, but the West Virginia senator said on Monday those talks were doomed to fail.

“I knew where they were and I knew what they could and couldn’t do,” he said in a radio interview. “I knew we couldn’t change, this was never going to change.”

U.S. stocks fell on Monday, weighed on by news as well as fears over the Omicron variant of COVID-19, while Goldman Sachs cut its quarterly GDP forecast for 2022 on the assumption that the plan would not become law. Read more

The Build Back Better plan aims to expand the social safety net and tackle climate change. Many Democrats have said the bill is critical to the party’s chances in the midterm election on November 8, 2022.

A vote would force Manchin to publicly register his objection to the bill ahead of the election, in which Democrats seek to retain control of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives.

Manchin’s comments sparked an angry reaction from the White House on Sunday, and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration would find a way to push the legislation forward.

It was not immediately clear how or if lawmakers could salvage the bill in its entirety or if parts of it could be passed.

“We will be voting on a revised version of the Build Back Better Act passed by the House – and we will continue to vote on it until we do something,” Schumer wrote.

A VOTE ON THE RIGHT TO VOTE

Manchin was re-elected in 2018 in a deeply conservative state that twice voted for Donald Trump. The senator has raised objections to elements of the bill intended to combat climate change, opposed by the coal and natural gas industries which are economic engines in his home state.

Manchin founded the private coal brokerage firm Enersystems in 1988 and still owns a significant stake in the company, which his son currently runs.

Manchin has also been reluctant to change the rules of procedure to advance voting rights legislation without the support of Republicans.

Schumer said the Senate would consider voting rights legislation in January and Democrats would consider whether to change those rules.

Progressive Democrats, who agreed to back an infrastructure bill in exchange for a vote on Build Back Better, expressed their anger on Monday. Read more

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Manchin’s overthrow a “flagrant violation” of Biden’s trust.

“We really need to start creating an environment of pressure,” she told MSNBC. “Make it difficult.”

Elements of the social policy plan – such as universal preschool education, an improved tax credit for childcare and larger subsidies for health care – are popular with voters, polls show. Read more

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Reporting by Susan Heavey and Moira Warburton, written by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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