President Joe Biden spoke with the one of the key Democratic Senators standing in the way of passing the president’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), on a phone call Monday. Sen. Manchin has held out on committing to support the BBBA, which could threaten Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) deadline to get the BBBA passed.
“We’re going to get this bill done with 50 Democrats before Christmas. That’s our goal,” Sen. Schumer said last month. Ahead of Monday’s phone call with President Biden, Manchin didn’t say he would vote against the BBBA. However, it appeared the White House and Senate leaders still must make concessions before Manchin will get on board.
“I’m, of course, not going to speak for Sen. Manchin,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at her daily briefing before the meeting Monday. “But we’re continuing to support Leader Schumer’s effort to move this forward. And we are going to continue to play a constructive role in that.”
In the past, Manchin has said he doesn’t like how some programs are funded for various lengths in the BBBA. He has also expressed opposition to extending child tax credits past the end of the year, calling them too generous.
“Well, clearly, the president wants to see the Child Tax Credit extended. That’s why he proposed it in this package,” Psaki said. “And clearly, that’s why a number of members of the Senate want to get this done as soon as possible. The president supports that.”
Manchin declined to describe the BBBA call, saying he and Biden are “talking about different iterations”. When asked if a deal could be reached by Christmas, Manchin said “anything’s possible”. Meanwhile, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Biden and Manchin had had “a good, constructive phone call” and would talk again soon.
Manchin says he is still “engaged” in the process. However, he says he wants to see the bill, which is yet to be finalized.