Manchin says no to Build Back Better, killing EV tax credit momentum

The challenge for the White House and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be determining whether Manchin’s announcement is a hard-nosed negotiating tactic to make deep changes to the bill or is truly the end of the line.

Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders said on CNN “State of the Union” that Democrats should put the bill on the floor in January and dare Manchin to vote against it.

“If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of America and West Virginia, let him vote no in front of the whole world,” Sanders said.

Representatives of Schumer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The roughly $2 trillion plan would have extended the expiring child tax credit and enacted new child care subsidies, the largest climate package ever, and money for assorted other programs for the middle class and the poor paid for with higher taxes on people making more than $400,000 a year and corporations.

Manchin’s decision leaves in limbo many other items, including a push by Democrats in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey to restore the state and local tax deduction, or SALT.

Other items that have little to no chance of passing without Manchin climbing back on board include Medicare negotiating some drug prices, a paid family leave benefit, tax credits for EVs and a transition to cleaner energy.

If the White House can’t regroup and cobble together a radically reworked and smaller bill to win Manchin’s support — and keep other Democratic constituencies from scuttling the bill in kind — none of that will happen.

Manchin’s decision drew sharp responses from some other Democrats.

“After months of negotiations, one Democratic U.S. senator has now summarily walked away from productive negotiations,” Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger, a moderate representing a swing district, said in a statement. “That is unacceptable, and we cannot act like this moment is the end.”

Many of Biden’s other legislative agenda items, including voting rights, have little chance of success in a Senate that continues to have a 60-vote rule for most legislation and near-uniform GOP opposition.

Manchin’s opposition is also a victory for the Chamber of Commerce, which sought to kill the bill and its taxes on corporations, as well as Republicans who united against the plan’s spending and taxing.

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