Manchin says ‘Build Back Better’ plan is dead

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Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has said President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better plan is “dead” and any discussion of reviving its key elements must start from scratch.

“Which Build Back Better Bill?” Manchin said when asked about the legislation. “It’s dead.”

He told reporters on Capitol Hill that any new discussion had to start with a clean slate. “Anything we’re going to come up with, anything you want to put on the table, we can talk about it.”

The West Virginia lawmaker said in January that talks should start again, but he was more adamant on Feb. 1 in his choice of words on the fiscal, climate and social spending plan that is the centerpiece of Biden’s economic agenda. .

Biden said he still hopes to pass a few “pieces” of the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Feb. 1 that he was still working to resurrect some version of the legislation, though he gave no timeline.

“There are a lot of provisions in this bill that are very important, many of which are supported by Senator Manchin, such as drug pricing, for example,” Schumer said. “So we are continuing to work on that and conversations are ongoing between Senator Manchin and various senators at this time.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say whether administration officials were in contact with Manchin or other Democrats. She said there was “strong support” within the party for many provisions, such as those affecting childcare, health care, prescription drug prices “and ensuring that the tax system is fair”.

Manchin said he has had no direct discussions with the White House since he broke off talks in December. He expressed openness to a climate change bill, but said it must balance the needs of the fossil fuel industry, including a possible relaxation of gas pipeline permits.

Democrats need Manchin and the other 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus to agree on a bill on Biden’s economic agenda if they are to pass it in the equally divided Senate using the budget reconciliation process.

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