Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Monday that the upper chamber will vote on the social spending bill known as Build Back Better in the new year.
Schumer, D-N.Y., made the assurance in response to comments made by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to Fox News Sunday that he would not vote for the bill, angering Democratic leadership and earning a rebuke from the White House for his “inexplicable reversal.”
“Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television,” Schumer said in a letter to his colleagues.
“We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”
The $1.7 trillion spending plan includes funding for items including child care and the fight against climate change.
Manchin said he could not support the bill because he would not be able to explain supporting it to voters in West Virginia, citing factors including inflation worries, the COVID-19 pandemic and “geopolitical unrest.”
Schumer said most members of the party were disappointed by the decision to delay floor consideration of the social spending bill because Manchin “could not come to an agreement” with President Joe Biden.
“However, neither that delay, nor other recent pronouncements, will deter us from continuing to try to find a way forward. We simply cannot give up. We must and we will keep fighting to deliver for working families,” Schumer said.
In his letter, Schumer also warned Republicans that the Senate would consider changes to “any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation” if members of the rival party filibuster during legislation debates.
“Members on both sides have spent years bemoaning Senate gridlock, yearning for the Senate to operate as it once did — with members participating, legislating, debating, publicly choosing a side,” Schumer said. “That is how the Senate worked before rules were weaponized to allow a minority of senators to prevent the body from mere consideration of legislation.”
Manchin responded with comments Monday to Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia’s MetroNews.
“I knew what they could and could not do. They just never realized it, because they figured: ‘Surely to God, we can move one person. Surely, we can badger and beat one person up. Surely, we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough,'” Manchin said during the interview.
“Well guess what: I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from. And they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period.”
Manchin’s refusal to support the bill was key to passing it in the evenly divided Senate, where all 50 Democratic/independent members would need to vote for it, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker.
The bill passed in the House in November by a vote of 220-213 with unanimous disapproval from Republicans and just one Democratic vote against its passage.
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