Biden on spending plan: ‘We’re going to have to probably break it up’
President Biden on Wednesday conceded he will have to break up his signature social spending proposal in order to get as much of it passed as possible after the roughly $2 trillion proposal stalled in the face of opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
“It’s clear to me that we’re going to have to probably break it up,” Biden said at a press conference from the White House.
“I’m not going to negotiate against myself as to what should and shouldn’t be in it, but I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, come back and fight for the rest later,” Biden added.
Biden cited upward of $500 billion in spending on energy and environmental programs that he believes could get support in the Senate, and he highlighted Manchin’s support for early education programs.
“I know that the two people who have opposed on the Democratic side at least, support a number of things that are in there,” Biden said, referring to Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who had both publicly raised concerns about the price tag of the full package.
Biden later acknowledged extending the child tax credit and funding for the cost of community college are going to be difficult to get passed.
The Build Back Better proposal, which is the cornerstone of Biden’s domestic agenda, includes spending on programs like the child tax credit, investments in early education, money for programs to combat climate change, and health care provisions.
The White House earlier this week disputed that it was considering breaking up the bill into smaller pieces.
The House passed the bill late last year after months of haggling over how to prioritize it alongside a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
But Manchin appeared to kill the bill in December, saying he could not support the legislation given its size and scope. Public negotiations on the full bill have been muted in the weeks since.
A number of Democratic lawmakers, concerned about a potential drubbing in the midterms, have called for Congress to pass whatever pieces of the proposal can get support in both chambers, arguing that doing nothing is not an option.
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