Earlier this morning as RedState reported, the White House took a victory lap, claiming that they had agreed to a framework on the “build back better” bill. The insinuation was that all Democrats were on board, including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
I was immediately skeptical, though. If there was a deal, why weren’t the two moderates who have all the leverage rushing out to endorse it? Sure enough, it appears that there is no actual deal yet. Manchin stepped in this afternoon to dump cold water on Pelosi’s blitzing attempt to get both bills passed today.
Sen. Joe Manchin, asked by @tedbarrettcnn to clarify whether he supports the framework, said he needs to see the legislative text first
“We haven’t seen the text yet. Everyone has to see it. I don’t think anybody could say they could support it until they see the text.”
— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) October 28, 2021
There are a couple of issues here that will have to be resolved before anything can actually pass. Most notably, Manchin has to actually like what is being offered. If he’s not sure about the framework, that makes it sound as if he wasn’t part of the negotiations, or at the very least, he wasn’t in the final meeting on the matter. If he were, he’d be bragging about reaching a deal.
Here, he says that he has to see the text first, and it’s going to take more than a few hours to go through 2,500+ pages. Yes, your federal government is trying to write and pass a 2,500+ page bill in a single day. What could go wrong?
Manchin is obviously concerned about any climate provisions that might have been snuck in that can handicap his home state of West Virginia, but then there’s the second issue at play. That involves whether the bill is “paid for” or not. Of course, it’s never really going to actually be paid for, as it’s just more deficit spending on top of deficit spending, but for the purposes of the reconciliation process, certain “pay for” measures must be present to meet the requirements. That means the CBO is going to have to score the bill, so even if it gets past the House today (despite progressive protestations), it could end up stalled out in the Senate.
Still, as has been expected, it does appear that something will be passed eventually. That was unavoidable, given that Republicans in both chambers do not have the majority necessary to stop things. Yet, if the bill is cut in half, while much of the most damaging, long-term measures are gone, that’s something — considering the alternative.