On Friday, Joe Biden began preparing his leftist base to accept the unpopularity of much of his proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, the centerpiece of his “Build Back Better” agenda. He told reporters that he is not likely to get the total amount proposed in his package “to be honest with you.” He added that he expects to get “something less” in his remarks at a child care facility in Hartford, Connecticut.
The president held out hope that a reconciliation bill of some form would get passed, saying he is “convinced we are going to get it done.” However, the price tag for the original plan appears to be all but abandoned, as he said that the progressives are not going to get $3.5 trillion but will have to accept “less than that.”
When asked what parts of the plan are not likely to make it through, Biden said that he did not know but said that he had “proposed free community college.” The reconciliation proposed by the White House includes pre-K child care, Medicare expansion, federal paid family and medical leave, and multiple “Green New Deal” climate programs in addition to tuition-free community college.
The bill will require a “yes” vote from all 50 Democratic senators plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to pass. It is expected that the bill will not receive any Republican support in the Senate. So far, moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have said they object to the package as proposed.
To make matters even worse for Biden, it has been reported that Manchin and Sinema object to different parts of the bill, cutting even deeper into the programs that Biden might be able to cobble together support for.
Also, on Friday, Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote an opinion piece demanding support for every program and provision of the reconciliation bill. Even though he recognized Manchin’s opposition, Sanders remains steadfast in his insistence against compromise.
Manchin responded to Sanders by restating his position that he will not vote for a “reckless expansion” of federal spending programs and added that “no op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”