Senate Democrats are unlikely to vote on the Build Back Better Act before Christmas, despite a heavy push from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and President Biden.
The BBB Act is stalled for a several reasons, including Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) continued concerns over the legislation and a lack of consensus on the state and local tax deduction (SALT). Some Senate committees haven’t even met with the Senate parliamentarian, who provides guidance on what can be included in a bill passed through budget reconciliation.
Yesterday, Schumer said Senate Democrats “continue working on getting the Senate into a position where we can vote on the president’s Build Back Better legislation.” He did not mention holding a vote by Christmas, the arbitrary deadline he has pushed for weeks.
Manchin, who has long been the primary obstacle to passage of the BBB Act, continues to say he would prefer a “strategic pause” on the package to consider the raising rate of inflation and whether all of the spending in the bill is truly needed. Manchin met with President Biden again earlier this week and the discussion did not result in any urgency on Manchin’s part.
“Whatever Congress is considering doing, they should do it within the limits of what we can afford,” Manchin said this week. “Whatever we raise, I want to ensure there’s money going towards paying down debt. We have to start taking care of our debt and be responsible.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she hasn’t given up hope for BBB action in the Senate before Christmas.
“This is called the legislative process – and we have our rules, and [the Senate] have their rules,” Pelosi said. “And I’m still hopeful that it will pass. I’m not going to have a postmortem on something that hasn’t died. I think we will have the legislation, and it will pass. I hope the sooner, the better…”