White House dismisses report of new Build Back Better package
The White House on Tuesday dismissed a report that the administration is preparing an alternative spending package to replace President Biden’s climate and social spending proposal.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates denied a Reuters report that said the White House is putting together a new package that brings in elements of the roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill that has stalled in the Senate, calling it “off-base.”
“Reuters is wrong,” Bates said in a statement. “We are always in touch with members about this, and the substance and details of this report are off-base.”
Reuters reported that the new package would still include components of the original bill that address climate change but be reduced in size by partially or entirely eliminating funding for other provisions, like the extension of the enhanced child tax credit and four weeks of paid family and medical leave.
The House passed the sweeping legislation, a signature domestic policy priority for Biden in his first term, in late November, but it has hit a wall in the Senate due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
After months of negotiations with the White House, Manchin said on Fox News in December that he could not support the legislation, effectively killing the bill in its current form. Biden needs every Senate Democrat on board to pass the legislation through budget reconciliation in the 50-50 Senate, given unanimous Republican opposition.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) acknowledged that the version of the legislation that passed the House is “dead” but suggested that some core elements of the package could still pass in a revised version of the bill.
“I still believe we’re going to find a core of this bill, whatever we call it, we’re going to find the core of the bill and pass it, and it will deal directly with some of these inflation concerns,” Kaine said.
The White House and Senate Democrats have shifted to trying to pass voting rights bills at the start of the year, though the White House says that talks on the Build Back Better agenda are continuing.
“The President and his team have been working hard, continuously, with both chambers to pass his economic growth plan for the middle class that will cut the biggest costs families face — like prescription drugs and child care — bring back more jobs from overseas after we made 2021 a record-breaking year for job creation, fight inflation for the long haul, reduce the deficit, and tackle the climate crisis,” Bates said in the statement Tuesday.
Updated at 10:44 a.m.