BBB: Manchin, Biden, Democrats Draft A Better Bill, And Mitt Romney’s Plan
[guest post by Dana]
This is a goulash of various points and observations about the BBB and its demise. Use it as a jumping-off point.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and President Joe Biden spoke Sunday night after a major blowup in negotiations around the president’s domestic agenda, three people familiar with the call told POLITICO.
The conversation ended with a sense that negotiations would, in fact, resume around the Build Back Better Act in some form in the new year. The tone of conversation was cordial and it was agreed that they would speak again on legislative priorities.
White House staff had given Manchin a heads-up on Thursday that the president was soon to put out a statement accepting a delay in the Build Back Better Act and that it was going to mention the West Virginia senator by name. Manchin objected, asking that either his name be left out or that he not be alone because his family had already been the target of abuse and he didn’t want to be singled out.
But the statement went out anyway, and contained only Manchin’s name. The senator then snapped at White House aides and told them that he was done negotiating. The West Wing interpreted that as meaning that current talks were done but could pick up again next year.
But Manchin meant that he was totally walking away — which he said publicly a few days later on Fox News Sunday, in a move that blindsided and outraged the White House.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post opines that this collapse might be an opening for Democrats – if they want to do the hard work, and compromise (Note: there is much to quibble about in the Op-Ed, but I’m just presenting the basic argument):
…But if Mr. Manchin is open to further talks, his Sunday announcement could prove productive. It might even prod Democrats into drafting a substantially better bill.
The West Virginia Democrat says he is worried about the bill’s fiscal consequences, and has objected that the measure contains a long list of programs funded only for short amounts of time. For example, it would extend an expansion of the federal child tax credit, which drastically cut child poverty, for only a single year. It seems a reasonable bet that, once established, Congress would not allow these programs to expire. But they are expensive, and Democrats have struggled to identify revenue streams to support them permanently. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that extending the act’s provisions indefinitely would cost an extra $3 trillion over a decade — more than the 10-year cost of the act as written. Mr. Manchin is right to worry that future Congresses would be tempted to extend the spending without paying for it responsibly. “They continue to camouflage the real cost of the intent behind this bill,” Mr. Manchin said Sunday.
The root problem is that, although moderates such as Mr. Manchin have insisted that there be hard caps on how much the federal government can spend, the bill’s authors have refused to prioritize programs for funding. Now, Democrats’ only hope is to pick the bill’s most important elements, fund them permanently and eject the rest. Top priorities should be climate programs, support for children and long-needed fixes to the Affordable Care Act system. They should also excise an exorbitant payoff to high-income taxpayers — a loosening of the federal state and local tax deduction — which would free up more money to finance the act’s remaining programs. If Democrats make the bill more fiscally responsible, it is even possible Mr. Manchin might relent on his objections to the climate section.
As negotiations progressed and Democrats scaled back the overall size of the package, they refused to make enough hard choices about what should stay in and what could go, even as they introduced extraneous provisions such as the state and local tax provision, undermining the bill’s potential to do lasting good. If Democrats return to Build Back Better’s original goals, they might pass not just a substantial bill, but one that justifies the faith that voters invested in the party when they put it in charge of both the legislative and executive branches of government.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the BBB collapse, Sen. Romney has another option for lawmakers:
Now that it’s clear “Build Back Better” isn’t moving forward & with bipartisan opposition to extending the President’s ill-crafted Child Tax Credit, the Administration has an opportunity to actually work with Republicans & Democrats on lasting, fiscally-responsible family policy. pic.twitter.com/6ePaFrYciA
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) December 20, 2021
And let’s end with some silly talk from Bernie Sanders, who doesn’t seem to realize that Manchin already announced his rejection of the BBB on national television, so why would he care about voting publicly on it?
“If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world.”
Hello.Dana (5395f9) — 12/20/2021 @ 3:45 pm
Nothing’s as easy to spend as other people’s money. Right, Brandon? Correct, Bernie?
Mitt is better, but still wrong.
I’m sick of this whole “I have a problem. What’s the government going to do about it?” mentality.norcal (3d2db9) — 12/20/2021 @ 4:10 pm
I’m truly shocked that a D was the death of this. I wish the D’s had more like him.frosty (f27e97) — 12/20/2021 @ 4:24 pm
OFGS- Pierre Delecto opines.
There’s a planet with your name on it, Pete.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 12/20/2021 @ 4:48 pm
I’m truly shocked that a D was the death of this. I wish the D’s had more like him.
Manchin is certainly an outlier in the current Democratic Party. I’ll bet he switches by the mid-terms.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 12/20/2021 @ 4:50 pm
Senator Manchin said he wanted them cut out things from the bill, but all they wanted to talk about was the number – the CBO score. He said he couldn’t vote for something he could not defend (to his constituents.) He actually against some of the things in the bill – particularly the “climate” provisons/ He said it would make for a more unstable electrical grid. He said he’d be happy to see a vote on the bill. Biden keeps on hoping. This is characteristic of him.
Manchin didn’t say, but I see there is this attempt to make more things more dependent on electricity so when and if there’s a black out things will be worse.
Previously, in a blackout:
1) Telephone service didn’t go out.
2) Transportation wasn’t impeded (except where roads were blocked or flooded)
3) Home heating was not affected.
Now everything is being put in one basket or people want it to be.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/20/2021 @ 5:21 pm
I expect to read the Manchin family has disappeared.mg (8cbc69) — 12/20/2021 @ 5:27 pm
I think he has more leverage as a moderate D.frosty (f27e97) — 12/20/2021 @ 5:30 pm
Manxcchin says the bill is causing inflation. Biden says no, and he’s right.
First, this bill hasn’t passed. Only coronavirus relief has had any impact on the economy.
Secpnd. the same inflation is taking place in other countries.
Now I will say endemic inflation is not caused by demand being higher than supply. That can </i. cause inflation, but it is self correcting. If you just leave it alone for a few years. That iswhat happened from 1940 to 1948 or maybe I should say from about 1945 on.
The supply curve will eventually get steeper thn the demand curve.
Youcould try bringing supply and demand into alignment by reducing demand. That not only is wrong philosophically – since when should government act to make people poorer or bankrupt? – it doesn;t work any more and the last time it really worked was 1937 (because to work there has to be a breakdown in inventory control.
Far better to bring supply and demand into alignment by increasing supply. Supply has a way of catching up. The restraints on supply are much less than some economists assume and they don't have much to do with the unemployment rate. And the limitations are different with every different kind of good.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/20/2021 @ 5:34 pm
Manchin is an old-time Southern Democrat. Conservative and populist. And I don’t see him telling West Virginia’s coal miners to learn to code, either.nk (1d9030) — 12/20/2021 @ 5:44 pm
long-needed fixes to the Affordable Care Act system.
Fixes that Paul Ryan and most of the Republicans were willing to make, but the Democrats sat on their hands to let the Trumpists in the Congress get their way. Freedom Caucus my ass.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:13 pm
They should raise the top rate back to 39.6% AND restore the SALT deduction.
The lowering of the top rate made it so the very rich did not “suffer” from the SALT deduction, but everyone e3lse did. It should be emphasized that the middle and upper-middle class got no such benefit as they don’t pay the top rate.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:16 pm
I think he has more leverage as a moderate D.
Right this moment, yes. Let the D strength be other-than-50 and his office will be behind the toilets.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:20 pm
Manchin is certainly an outlier in the current Democratic Party. I’ll bet he switches by the mid-terms.
He is the only viable Demo rat in his state, and only because he doesn’t vote like a Democrat. The question isn’t why he was opposed to this budget blowout, but why his party thinks it’s a good thing. They all know it’s $5 trillion, not $2 trillion. They just don’t care.
Democrats, the party of “We want it and we want in NOW!”Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:23 pm
Manchin is certainly an outlier in the current Democratic Party. I’ll bet he switches by the mid-terms.
Nope. Catbird Seat. He’ll get courted by both parties for his vote.DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:36 pm
why should they restore the SALT deduction? Why should other states citizens pay for leftist states profligate spending?NJRob (eb56c3) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:49 pm
Why should the federal government send money to Texas?Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 12:15 am
“Why should the federal government send money to Texas?”
??? what funds?EPWJ (0fbe92) — 12/21/2021 @ 3:51 am
Was is always like this? This ridiculous spoils system where an incoming President pays off the constituencies who elected him? I first noticed it with Obama’s “infrastructure” which was just money to the big cities to spend pretty much as they wanted. Did Dubya do it? Clinton? Other priors?nk (1d9030) — 12/21/2021 @ 4:25 am
While I’m happy with this latest development I’m not convinced negotiations are over.Time123 (9f42ee) — 12/21/2021 @ 4:58 am
While I’m happy with this latest development I’m not convinced negotiations are over.
Nobody who has children who ask for things (or remembers being one) is, Time123.nk (1d9030) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:16 am
nk (1d9030) — 12/21/2021 @ 4:25 am
Yes. There’s a reason Johnson moved military and space programs out of AL to TX for example.frosty (f27e97) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:18 am
16. NJRob (eb56c3) — 12/20/2021 @ 10:49 pm
Shouldn’t taxes be based on disposable income?
If not, why then allow any deductions at all, or other than fixed amounts? Want to deduct tax preparation fees? We’ll tell you how much it should cost.
The compromise they seem to have in mind seems to be capping SALT at $80,000 (way above the standard deduction)
But the whole bill is going to have to be re-written from scratch. And all the climate fighting taken out of it.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/21/2021 @ 6:06 am
All the SALT deduction does is allow leftist states to jack up their taxes and then have their “citizens ” get a rebate on their federal taxes. It’s a ponzi scheme.NJRob (611784) — 12/21/2021 @ 7:19 am
NJRob (611784) — 12/21/2021 @ 7:19 am
NO it also taxes people on the basis of ability to pay.
How about tuition tax credits which some conservatives want? Shall we say that enables states to run lousy public schools?Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/21/2021 @ 8:09 am
Joe Manchin was also getting tired of getting repeated calls from White House staff without them paying attention to what were his true objections. It wasn’t just the dollar figure, which also wasn’t moving much.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/21/2021 @ 8:12 am
This is Mitt Romney’s description of his child tax proposals
It’s a universal, non-means tested monthly cash benefit starting four months before a child’s due date (if the parents apply) a;most totally separate from the income tax system. (it does phase out at $200,000) yearly income for single filers and $400,000 for joint) He should listen to Bernie Sanders. Don;t bother with phaseouts for universal benefits.
Romney would also change the Earned Income tax credit so as no longer to differ depending on the number of children and the phaseout would be more gradual. The adult EITC would stay the same. e would eliminate the filing status of Head of Household and the child and dependent tax credit, modify eligibility for SNAP (food stamps) and totally eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes.
Why something like this should pass Congress is not clear.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/21/2021 @ 8:30 am
All the SALT deduction does is allow leftist states to jack up their taxes and then have their “citizens ” get a rebate on their federal taxes. It’s a ponzi scheme.
The old SALT scheme was a subsidy of states without income taxes actually, since one could only deduct property tax and one of sales tax or income tax. So, where there was no income tax the entire state tax burden could be deducted.
In Texas, this would allow a larger tax deduction than a Californian would get, since the Californian would have to choose between the income tax or the sales tax and could not deduct both.
It is likely that upper-middle-class Texans got a larger SALT deduction than the same families in California would have.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 9:15 am
The SALT limitation of the Trump tax “cut” increased taxes on affluent-but-not-rich itemizers. It did NOT increase taxes on the very rich since their top rate was cut — in final negotiations — by 2.6% to offset the SALT limit. People who did not pay the top rate did not get this offset.
Biden wants to raise the top tax rate back to 39.6% and it isn’t unreasonable to ask that the deduction be changed back, too.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 9:23 am
How about a Manchin switch-date pool?
https://www.nationalreview.com/news/manchin-dares-democrats-to-push-him-out-of-party/Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 10:10 am
Manchin comes from a state where people go down into deep holes in the ground and work like dogs to feed their families. It is not unreasonable that they expect other people to work for a living.
I imagine the “stupid people, stupid state” criticism Manchin and WV are getting from Hollywood types isn’t setting too well with West Virginians. It may not be possible for him to stay in the Democrat Party, if they continue to disrespect him like this.
BTW, Manchin blames Schumer for most of what is wrong with the Senate.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 10:16 am
Kevin M (ab1c11) — 12/21/2021 @ 9:15 am
That was a relatively recent change to the SALT tax deduction. You’re not talking about the old scheme but the most recent previous scheme. Originally, sales taxes were not deductible. Later, estimated sales taxes according to income (differing by county and state) could be deducted, as of 2004. (until the 1986 tax law, both could be deducted)
SALT became irrelevant to many people after 2017 because the standard deduction was raised so much.Sammy Finkelman (c49738) — 12/21/2021 @ 10:58 am
“Manchin comes from a state where people go down into deep holes in the ground and work like dogs to feed their families. It is not unreasonable that they expect other people to work for a living.”
Yes, I’m sure Manchin, sitting in his yacht, has his finger on the pulse of the working man.Davethulhu (014d15) — 12/21/2021 @ 11:13 am
Something tells me that a Mitt! negotiated deal won’t be very good.steveg (e81d76) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:20 pm
I liked him better when he stuck to core competencies like putting the dog on the roof of the station wagon. Still better than Joe or Obama, particulary if you don’t favor any divisiveness or *gasp* coarse discourse.
The world was a better place for a brief moment when Dick Cheney told Patrick Leahy to go “F’ himself.
It was the truthful suggestion that moment needed
Mitt is a split-the-difference kind of guy. Sometimes that’s good. Other times? Not so much.norcal (3d2db9) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:24 pm
When Mitt was in Jr. Hi, his friends were being rolled for their lunch money every day at 9AM and as the soon to be class President Mitt, Mitt’s friends all agreed to ask Mitt to negotiate a deal where the beatings would stop. Mitt comes back and tells his friends that all they have to do is deliver all their lunch money plus 10% every morning by 9:10 and asses will not be kicked.steveg (e81d76) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:32 pm
@36 🤣norcal (3d2db9) — 12/21/2021 @ 5:49 pm
Yes, I’m sure Manchin, sitting in his yacht, has his finger on the pulse of the working man.
Davethulhu (014d15) — 12/21/2021 @ 11:13 am
No less than malbushim Hollywood celebrities talking about how much they care about the poor from their million-dollar mansions.Factory Working Orphan (2775f0) — 12/21/2021 @ 6:01 pm