Democrats are preparing to revive their efforts to pass the Build Back Better bill to appease Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., after he announced in December that he was a “no” vote on President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate change plan.

The original bill was negotiated down from $6 trillion to $3.5 trillion, then down to $1.7 trillion prior to Manchin’s death blow. He said negotiations must start fresh: “We're going to start with a clean sheet of paper and start over," Manchin told reporters. 

Manchin said he has not heard from the White House, but indicated he is ready to talk to the president and his colleagues about the details of the new bill. Biden is open to shrinking the price tag of his legislative agenda to sign whatever “chunks” he can into law.

Congressional Democrats acknowledge they need to bend to the will of Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to get the two holdouts on board. One Democratic senator told The Hill, “I think we should tell Sen. Manchin, ‘You won, write the bill and tell us what you can support.' "

 

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has changed her tune since previous calls for full passage.

“What the president calls ‘chunks’ I would hope would be a major bill going forward," she told reporters. "It may be more limited, but it is still significant."

Democrats hope they can compromise with Manchin and Sinema on a proposal that includes a child tax credit, universal pre-K, funding for childcare, lower prescription drug prices, a clean manufacturing tax credit and other climate change provisions. 

“The main thing we need to do is take care of the inflation, get your financial house in order, get a tax code that works, take care of the pharmaceuticals gouging people with high prices. We can fix that. We can do a lot of good things,” Manchin said.

A group of three House Democrats said the new bill would have to include a state and local tax deduction known as SALT.

“We support the president’s agenda, and if there are any efforts that include a change in the tax code, then a SALT fix must be part of it,” Reps. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., wrote. "No SALT, no deal."