Source: Biden-Manchin talks on $2T Dem bill going poorly

Alan Fram
Associated Press

Washington – Negotiations between President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin over the Democrats’ huge social and environment bill are going poorly, a person familiar with the talks said Wednesday, the latest sign that leaders’ hopes of moving the bill through the Senate before Christmas were increasingly bleak.

Manchin, D-W.Va., has told the president he wants to eliminate the measure’s extension of a more generous child tax credit, said the person, who would describe the situation only on condition of anonymity.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., leaves his office moments after speaking with President Joe Biden about his long-stalled domestic agenda, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.

Many Democrats consider the expanded child tax credit crucial for the millions of families it helps and for the legislation’s prospects of moving through the narrowly divided Congress. The 10-year, roughly $2 trillion measure also has money for health care, universal prekindergarten and climate change programs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he wants his chamber to approve the legislation by Christmas in hopes of using the upcoming holiday to prod Manchin and others to resolve final disputes over the bill. Democrats need all of their votes in the 50-50 Senate to advance the legislation.

The party has been working on the massive bill for nearly eight months and has already blown past earlier self-imposed deadlines. Letting work on the bill slip into next year, when congressional elections will be held, would be an ominous sign about its prospects.

Manchin did not answer reporters questions about his stance in the talks.