Senate

Graham says he thinks Biden’s Build Back Better is ‘dead forever’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday said he thinks President Biden’s social spending and climate bill, the Build Back Better Act, is “dead forever” as Senate Democrats struggle to get their caucus unified behind the legislation.

Graham pointed specifically to the wariness of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has signaled concerns about the roughly $2 trillion cost of the bill and its potential effects on inflation.

“I think Build Back Better is dead forever, and let me tell you why: because Joe Manchin has said he’s not going to vote for a bill that will add to the deficit,” Graham said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Hannity.”

“At the end of the day, Joe Manchin has promised the people of West Virginia, ‘I will not vote for a bill that adds to the deficit that’s full of gimmicks,’ so I think [it] is dead forever,” he added.

The expanded child tax credit has been a key focus of the late-stage negotiations within the Democratic Party. The House-passed version of the bill includes a one-year extension for the pandemic-era policy, but Manchin is now floating the idea of extending it for multiple years so the cost of the proposal, which Congress will likely extend in the future, is fully reflected in the legislation.

Graham, during his conversation with Sean Hannity, cited a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which he requested, that analyzed the Build Back Better Act should its provisions be made permanent and found that the legislation would add $3 trillion in deficit spending.

Republicans are hoping that the score will sway Manchin to delay negotiations for the package.

The CBO said, however, that the House-passed version of the bill would add $200 billion to the deficit over the same time period.

Graham on Wednesday said the bill written in the Senate is “a lie.”

“The CBO and the inflation number last Friday, I think, kill Build Back Better. They were trying to pass a lie, and God bless Joe Manchin for sticking to his guns,” Graham added.

The White House is objecting to the Graham-requested CBO report, with press secretary Jen Psaki calling it “a fake CBO score.”

The Senate is looking to pass the behemoth bill through budget reconciliation, which would buck a potential GOP filibuster by only requiring a majority vote for passage.

That means, however, that all Democrats must be on board to send the bill to Biden’s desk.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) previously said his goal is to pass the legislation by Christmas, though that timeline is looking increasingly unlikely amid the internal party clashes.

The caucus is also waiting to hear from the Senate parliamentarian, who is going over the bill to make sure it does not violate the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules.

Tags Biden agenda Build Back Better Build Back Better Act Charles Schumer Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Lindsey Graham Sean Hannity

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