Contorted debt limit process advances, allowing Schumer to move ahead on Build Back Better

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The speed with which Republicans are allowing this to move is kind of surprising given that eating up all the time they can to keep the Senate from moving to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation has been paramount. The longer they delay that, the more opportunity Sen. Joe Manchin has to whittle it down to nothing. But that could be because they’ve got other plans, like this one:


Yes, Manchin has Montana Democrat Jon Tester to help him sabotage Biden’s efforts. Note that this hasn’t a prayer of passing in the House, so it is nothing but a time suck and another way for Manchin to be manipulated by McConnell. And Tester is getting sucked in, too. He really should be smarter than that.

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McConnell’s point is giving Manchin more time to keep hacking away at the bill, which he still refuses to support. As Meteor Blades writes, “A bill that started out conceptually at $6 trillion six months ago and was trimmed by President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders to $3.5 trillion is now $1.75 trillion, but that’s not enough to get the West Virginia senator on board. Every indication is that yet more cuts will only give him another chance to move the goalposts.”

At least the nation is not going to default, and they aren’t going to be fighting over it up to the last minute. That’s also likely because McConnell heard from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street about just how destabilizing the games are to the markets—that’s who rules his world.

Meanwhile, Manchin is Manchining. “We’ve done so many good things in the last 10 months, and no one is taking a breath,” he said during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit Tuesday, giving no evidence of “so many good things” that have been accomplished this year.

One great thing has been done: the American Rescue Plan. The expanded Child Tax Credit that was included in that bill has done tremendous good, lifting millions of children out of poverty and making families’ recovery from the pandemic easier. 

One necessary and potentially good thing, a hard infrastructure bill, got done. Given that lots of money going to lots of states to build stuff is every lawmaker’s favorite thing, it hardly counts as an achievement. Particularly since the entire thing was engineered by Manchin and his pal in sabotage, Kyrsten Sinema, as a way to try to tank Biden’s Build Back Betternplans.

No, the last 10 months have primarily been about Manchin and Sinema pumping the breaks and undermining their president to prevent really essential stuff from happening. For his part, Schumer is trying to push back. While Manchin is on a big public “slow it down” campaign, Schumer is plowing ahead, setting up a game of chicken now with Manchin, who will have to decide if he will let 93% of his state’s children down when the expanded Child Tax Credit monthly payments end.

Schumer  announced on the Senate floor Wednesday morning that four committees have the full text of their pieces of the big reconciliation bill ready. “We are clearing the path for Democrats to turn to our biggest domestic priority of the year: passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas,” he vowed. “We continue to make good progress and we are still on track to vote on a final product before Christmas.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed him up“It would be my hope that we would have this done before the Christmas vacation,” she told reporters Wednesday. That gives Manchin a little bit of time to decide if he’s going to be the guy who betrays his party, his president, his constituents, and the nation as his gift to us all. 

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