Still dead: Biden continues to push Build Back Better despite no bill

NOTNo matter how many times Senator Joe Manchin kills him, President Joe Biden refuses to give up Build Back Better.

The president will meet with utility CEOs on Wednesday to “discuss the Build Back Better program,” according to the White House’s official timeline, which touts the plan as the biggest climate change investment in US history. United – a way to cut energy costs and create union jobs.

But how all of this will happen remains to be seen.


With last year’s original legislation dead, no solid details are available on what will be in a future iteration of the bill or how those plans will achieve the administration’s goals.

Biden’s persistence has drawn the ire of conservatives.

“After the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Saturday night live Weekend Update had a recurring joke in which, week after week, the Chevy Chase anchor told the audience that “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead,” said Jenny Beth Martin, honorary president of Tea Party Patriots Action. “With a wink at SNLour message to President Biden is that no matter how much you wish he hung on to life, your BBB law is still dead.”

Manchin effectively killed the Build Back Better Act in December by opposing it and reiterated earlier this month that “there are no organized conversations going on” regarding the bill. If there were, he said the tax code would need to be changed before anything else and that he wanted bipartisan talks.

The West Virginia centrist’s stiff opposition has prompted some media outlets to predict that the BBB moniker will disappear, and some Democrats are even calling for a rebrand.

“That old name needs to go in the trash,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz said last week. “I’m not very good at naming things or naming slogans, but Joe Manchin has been pretty clear that he won’t be voting for Build Back Better. So we have to work on something else. »

Despite the lack of details and continued rejections, Biden still refers to his program using the nickname, like others within the White House, including press secretary Jen Psaki and first lady Jill Biden.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has been working on a new proposal with some elements of the old Build Back Better bill that he thinks Manchin would support, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also says that he continues to have discussions on this subject.

A December statement from Wyden cited clean energy incentives tied to lower carbon emissions, the child tax credit and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices as possibilities. But a spokesperson for Wyden said there was no timeline for when a new bill might emerge.

Gone to promote a bill that doesn’t yet exist, Biden is now seeking a smaller-scale victory, claims former Democratic operative Sandy Maisel.

“He needs positive things coming out of his administration, and he hasn’t had a lot yet,” said Maisel, professor emeritus at Colby College. “He has the Supreme Court nomination, recently [positive] economic numbers, and he’s not getting as much credit as he deserves for the infrastructure bill and the things he did earlier in office. He needs more. I think he understands that, and that’s what he’s looking for.

The original Build Back Better plan included more than $2 trillion in spending, ranging from subsidized child care to universal preschool education, an extended child tax credit and tax breaks for the purchase of electric vehicles. . But any smaller version will still have to go through reconciliation, a budget tool that can only be used twice a year but allows legislation to pass with Democratic votes alone.

The White House has said it will get as much of the original plan as possible with the 50 votes Democrats hold in the Senate.


Regarding the name, Maisel says it has become a trademark of Biden.

“It seems to me that he gets more credit if he passes a bill that bears the name,” he said. “Build Back Better is his trademark at this point.”

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