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Sen. Ben Cardin says Biden’s $1.7tn Build Back Better plan could be revived in 2022


A Democratic senator is holding out hope that President Biden’s massive social spending bill could finally pass in the new year, adding that it may come down to breaking it up into smaller pieces that can gin up Republican support.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said that Build Back Better is not yet dead in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

‘We are prepared to move; we just need to make sure we have unanimity in our caucus and that’s what we are working on and we will start on that next week when we return,’ Cardin told host Mike Emanuel. 

The bill seemed to stall after Sen. Joe Manchin – one of two Democratic holdouts keeping the bill from the necessary 50 votes in the Senate – said on the same show last week that he couldn’t vote for it.

On Tuesday, Biden told reporters he still believed there was a ‘possibility’ of passing the bill and that he and Manchin would ‘get something done.’ 

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland held out hope for Build Back Better while on Fox News Sunday

His comments come after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key Democratic vote needed to pass the behemoth bill, said he couldn't suppport it last weekend

His comments come after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key Democratic vote needed to pass the behemoth bill, said he couldn’t suppport it last weekend

The wide-ranging Build Back Better plan is a signature part of Biden’s agenda and COVID recovery plan. 

The bill includes universal preschool, paid family leave, child nutrition assistance, clean energy measures and Medicare and Medicaid expansion, according to Politico.

On Sunday, Cardin maintained there’s hope it could make it.

‘There is unanimity in our caucus that we want to get a bill to the president, and we are working to see what that bill will contain. President Biden is directly involved in these negotiations,’ he said.

He said further compromise may be necessary, and admitted that the behemoth bill may have to be butchered into smaller pieces.

The bill is a key part of President Joe Biden's agenda. Above, Biden in Washington, DC, on Christmas Eve

The bill is a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Above, Biden in Washington, DC, on Christmas Eve

Sen. Cardin said Democrats are considering breaking the bill up. 'That's a strategy decision that's being negotiated. We are open to a way to reach the finish line,' he said

Sen. Cardin said Democrats are considering breaking the bill up. ‘That’s a strategy decision that’s being negotiated. We are open to a way to reach the finish line,’ he said

‘That’s a strategy decision that’s being negotiated. We are open to a way to reach the finish line,’ he said. 

‘We want to see it as comprehensive as possible, but we need to make sure we have the votes to pass it, so that means it will be different than some of us would like to see,’ he added.

‘I think we can reach that sweet spot. Look, a lot of us are gonna be disappointed, but we’re not gonna let perfection be the enemy of getting something done.’ 

Biden’s plan invests in public lands and local news reporters (by giving a tax credit to organizations that employ them), provides 12 months of Medicaid coverage to new moms, and makes permanent the child tax credit signed into law in March.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would increase the deficit by $367 billion over the next 10 years, but the White House likes to say it will be fully paid for when accounting for a proposal to enhance tax enforcement, which the CBO excluded in its calculations, CNN reports.

The expensive bill, which includes provisions that cater to the leftist wing of the Democratic Party, passed the House last month, but has since run into opposition from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Manchin. 

Manchin has been opposed to the price tag as well as some climate-focused parts of the bill that would cut carbon emissions and slowly move the country, and his home state of West Virginia, away from coal. 

On Tuesday, Biden said he believed he and Manchin would 'get something done.' Above, Manchin after he was sworn-in by Vice President Biden in November 2010

On Tuesday, Biden said he believed he and Manchin would ‘get something done.’ Above, Manchin after he was sworn-in by Vice President Biden in November 2010

Manchin happens to be a favorite of large energy donors, the Guardian reports. 

The Democrat has also told reporters he’s concerned about the pricey package’s impact on the US economy. He blamed his issues on how the government spending would impact already-record inflation and the uncertainty that the new COVID-19 Omicron variant brings.

‘The unknown is great right now and it gets greater,’ Manchin said according to Bloomberg.

US inflation rates skyrocketed as the economy recovers from the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In October the price of consumer goods went up 6.2 percent from the year before, a 31-year high. 

Manchin was slammed last week after he delivered what seemed to be a death knell for the legislation. 

‘And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,’ he said on Fox News Sunday.

‘This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do. And the President has worked diligently. He’s been wonderful to work with. He knows I’ve had concerns and the problems I’ve had and, you know, the thing that we should all be directing our attention towards the variant, a Covid that we have coming back at us in so many different aspects in different ways, it’s affecting our lives again.’

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for reforms in the Senate, railing against it as an institution and calling it an 'old boys club'

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for reforms in the Senate, railing against it as an institution and calling it an ‘old boys club’

Bush blasted Manchin in a tweet last weekend and called on President Joe Biden to 'fix this'

Bush blasted Manchin in a tweet last weekend and called on President Joe Biden to ‘fix this’

Omar called Manchin's reasons for killing the bill 'bulls**t' – he noted 'inflation' as one reason

Omar called Manchin’s reasons for killing the bill ‘bulls**t’ – he noted ‘inflation’ as one reason

‘Our entire democracy is on the line,’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted last weekend.

‘We, as always, are here to fight for this agenda. What matters most to us is that it gets done.

House Rep. Cori Bush, a progressive Democrat from St. Louis, also blasted Manchin on Sunday, tweeting: ‘Honestly, I’m frustrated with every Democrat who agreed to tie the fate of our most vulnerable communities to the corporatist ego of one Senator. 

‘No one should have backed out of our initial strategy that would have kept Build Back Better alive.’

Bush then called out Biden, writing: ‘@POTUS, you need to fix this.’

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Biden told reporters following remarks on COVID at the White House that he and Manchin will ‘get something done.’   

Cardin invited Manchin to have further discussions with his party leaders in order to hammer out a final version – even after months of talks have ended in disagreements.

‘At the end of the day, I think Sen. Manchin understands the importance of getting legislation to the president to deal with many of the issues that are in Build Back Better. He doesn’t agree with all of them, so let’s sit down and find that area where we all can come together for the sake of our country,’ Cardin said.



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