WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic Senator Joe Manchin once again signaled that he is still not ready to endorse his party’s $ 2 trillion social and environmental legislation, and then spoke to President Joe Biden as the Party leaders were looking for a way to move the lengthy package forward – preferably by Christmas.
West Virginia lawmakers declined to describe his phone conversation with the president on Monday, saying he and Biden would “talk about different iterations” and say “anything,” when asked if they would like one by the holiday Could reach an agreement.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said the two men had “a good, constructive phone call” and would be speaking again soon.
In previous comments to reporters, Manchin did not specifically threaten to vote against the law or say he was against the goal of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., to approve a compromise by Christmas. But his stance underscored that White House and Senate leaders still need to make concessions in order to win Manchin’s support.
The Democrats must have his support because the Senate is evenly divided and the Republicans unanimously reject the bill. Manchin, one of his party’s recent holdouts, has been pushing for months for Democrats to limit the size of the bill and drop some initiatives, including one that requires paid family and sick leave.
Earlier Monday, Manchin told reporters that he wanted leaders to choose their “highest priorities” in the package, hold them all for a full 10 years instead of several, and package all of this into one measure that is less than 2 trillion US dollars costs. The law limits many of the Democrats’ priorities to just a few years in order to cap the 10-year price of the measure.
Since the current draft law emerged from more than seven months of often bitter negotiations between the Democrats, a redesign currently appears dramatically almost impossible.
In his first public comment since two government reports were released last week, Manchin said that one showing that inflation is rising at an annual rate of 6.8%, the highest in four decades, is “alarming”.
He also expressed dismay at an analysis requested by Republicans that said the legislation would add an additional $ 3 trillion to the federal deficit if all of its programs were made permanent. The Democrats ridiculed this impartial Congressional Budget Office report as saying they would find ways to pay for any extension of the bill’s programs.
Before speaking to Manchin, Biden told reporters at the White House that when he speaks to lawmakers, he is trying to “convince them that what I am proposing makes sense and is not at odds with what they are believe”.
Other unresolved questions in the bill include whether the House MP will decide that several provisions, including one to aid migrants in the US, should be removed for violating Senate rules.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the law last month.
One reason the Democrats’ urgency is because the IRS does not have time to prepare checks due Jan. 15 for the millions of families receiving the child tax credit, Senate finance committee chair Ron Wyden said. D-Erz., Said.
AP Congress Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.