The bill is a dramatically scaled-down version of President Joe Biden’s agenda, missing many key policies. But it’s a lot better than the nothing Manchin was expected to sign onto in recent months. It represents the nation’s largest-ever investment in fighting climate change, though admittedly, “largest-ever” is a low bar here. That investment includes tax credits for energy-efficient homes and cars, credits for manufacturers of renewable energy, and more.
These things are paid for, along with enough deficit reduction to make Manchin happy, through a series of tax measures:
It’s missing a lot: the child tax credit that slashed child poverty when the American Rescue Plan put it into effect for six months. Universal pre-K. Paid family and sick leave. Hundreds of billions of dollars more in needed climate change investment. But it’s so much better than zero.
So, will it come together this week?
Getting all 50 Democrats into the Capitol for the vote won’t be easy. Sen. Patrick Leahy was just released from a rehabilitation center after breaking his hip. Multiple senators have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Sen. Dick Durbin is the latest, and while he could potentially be back this week, one other person testing positive could delay the vote.
Manchin expressed cautious optimism about Sinema’s stance.
“We work very close together on so many things, and she has so much in this piece of legislation. She’s formed quite a bit of and worked on it very hard,” he said on one of his many Sunday talk show appearances.
“I think that basically when she looks at the bill and sees the whole spectrum of what we’re doing … hopefully she will be positive about it, but she’ll make her decision and I respect that,” Manchin added.
Republican opposition is, of course, guaranteed—and would be even if they supported every component of the bill, because their primary goal is to deny Democrats any major accomplishments.
While Biden has acknowledged that the bill is “a compromise” that is “far from perfect,” this is one of the most important moments of his presidency to date. He started off with a bang with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which did, in fact, rescue the economy. Now is the moment for Democrats to show that they can deliver on something significant and unprecedented.
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