WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden conceded Thursday his Build Back Better Act will not pass this year, missing the Democrats’ Christmas deadline and pushing talks into the new year.
Biden released a lengthy statement on Thursday night, saying Democrats will continue to work together “over the days and weeks ahead” to get the legislation passed.
“My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week,” Biden said in the statement. “It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote. We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead; Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible.”
In the statement, Biden said he had a “productive” phone call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) just one day after meeting with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va).
Biden also noted that Manchin supports the bill’s funding and believes the two will “bridge their differences” amid reports the two are far apart as their talks continue.
“Senator Manchin has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September,” Biden said. “I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.”
The President explained the process will be a lengthy one and it will take time.
“It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, Biden said. “We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead; Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible.”
Progressive Democrats, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said not passing the bill before the end of the year would be a mistake.
“Delaying passage of Build Back Better until 2022 would have immediate and devastating consequences,” she said in a statement Thursday.
“Progressives have worked diligently with the White House and Senate over the better part of this year to set up for this moment. The version of Build Back Better we passed out of the House was agreed to by nearly every Senator caucusing with the Democrats — and we sent it to the upper chamber based on the President’s promise that he could deliver the 50 Senators needed to make it law,” Jayapal added.
Reports said this week Biden and the Democrats are punting Build Back Better in the hopes of passing sweeping voting rights legislation, something that will only be passed if the filibuster is nuked. Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have both opposed the idea.
In his statement Thursday, Biden urged for both bills to be passed.
“We will — we must — get Build Back Better passed, even in the face of Republican opposition. At the same time, we must also press forward on voting rights legislation, and make progress on this as quickly as possible,” he said.