Biden’s Plan for New Social Safety Net Again in Jeopardy

The cornerstone of US President Joe Biden’s domestic policy, the so-called Build Back Better bill worth nearly $1800 billion, has been called into question after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Sunday cannot support the proposal.


The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in November and includes a lot of funding for the social safety net, including cheaper medicines, tax cuts and childcare. But a lot of money is also intended for the fight against global warming. The bill is also known as Biden’s version of a New Deal. The New Deal was a major social and economic recovery plan initiated by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s to pull the US out of the Great Depression.

Manchin told Fox News that he had “tried everything” to support the proposal but ultimately found the cost too high. “My Democratic colleagues in Washington are committed to radically transforming our society in a way that makes our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face,” Manchin wrote in a statement on his website. “I can’t take that risk with a $29 trillion debt and real and damaging inflation, as Americans find at gas stations, supermarkets, and utility bills.”

The White House and Manchin have discussed his objections to the bill extensively in recent weeks, and Biden has even visited Manchin at his home in Delaware for a breakfast meeting. The White House will need the votes of all 50 Democratic senators for the plan, as the 50 Republican senators will all vote against it. In a tie, Vice President Kamala Harris can give the casting vote.

White House spokesman Jen Psaki told The New York Times that Manchin’s statements are seen as the end of talks between him and Biden. “His comments are a sudden and inexplicable reversal of his position and a breach of his promises to the president and colleagues in the House and Senate.”

If the White House and Manchin can’t agree after the Christmas recess, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer may break the bill into smaller pieces and seek support from a number of Republicans on the various parts.

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