DemocratsThey are nearing the end of this year without much to show for the efforts they made in passing new laws that protect voting rights and reform the immigration system.
The party has difficulty advancing on their ambitious legislative agenda with a fragile 50-seat Senate majority and several moderate legislators who are continuing to oppose them.
“We’re frustrated and disappointed,” said Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. Reporters were informed by Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat.
Democrats had intended to pass Build Back Better Act (1.75 Trillion in social spending, climate change package) before Christmas Day. Negotiations between President Manchin and Manchin failed to materialize. Joe BidenAre said to be moving poorlyThere were sharp differences over other provisions and the child credit.
On Thursday, Manchin received a lot of attention from his Senate colleagues, especially from Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is a prominent advocate for the child tax credit monthly payments. These will expire next month without Congress taking any action. But the discussions didn’t appear to yield any progress.
On Thursday, Biden made a statement that acknowledged what congressional Democratic leaders didn’t: That more work was needed in order to pass the bill.
“My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week,” Biden said. “Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible.”
Biden didn’t explicitly pull the plug on trying to pass the bill this year, but given that Manchin is still not on board and the bill text is not finalized, it would be exceedingly difficult to get the job done before January.
Progressives, meanwhile, are fuming about the Senate’s inaction on the bill. Many progressive House legislators supported passage of the bipartisan legislation on infrastructure last month, with the understanding their Senate counterparts will approve the Build Back better Act.
“The House did our work, and now it’s time for the Senate to do theirs. They must stay in session until Build Back Better is passed,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement on Thursday.
The party got more bad news on Thursday after the Senate parliamentarian, who acts as the chamber’s referee, blocked a third attempt to include immigration reform measures in the Build Back Better legislation.
Top Senate Democrats responded by issuing a statement pledging to “pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act,” but it’s difficult to see what that path is when there isn’t enough Democratic support to overrule the parliamentarian on the issue. To take such a step, all 50 Senate Democrats would need to vote and vice president Kamala Harris support.
The Democrats’ late push to create new laws protecting voting rights in the United States was also thwarted this week. Although there were several meetings between administration and key senators in the hopes of creating momentum on this issue, little has changed. Republicans continue to oppose federal voting laws. Democrats such as Sen. Kyrsten Silena (Ariz.), and Senator Manchin (Republican) oppose any unilateral changes to the Senate rules.
However, Democratic senators insist that they will continue to work on their agenda and get Build Back Better passed into law.
“There’s not a real difference between getting something done on Dec. 21 versus Feb. 7 or whatever it may be,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).