Last month, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing for a vote on a sweeping version of President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, Charlie marveled at the fact that she was sending her most vulnerable members to the slaughter. But it now seems that it was all for nothing.
To be sure, it is too early for conservatives to take any victory laps. The difficulty Democrats are having with passing a bill by the end of the year should not be seen as a sign of sure defeat for Biden’s signature legislation. It is still likely to reemerge, in some form, in the coming year. And Sen. Joe Manchin is likely to find some version of it that he can get behind. He has signaled he’d be willing to spend $1.75 trillion, and that’s still a lot.
However, whatever emerges from further discussions, it’s pretty clear that it will be much different from what House Democrats voted for. If Manchin were close to supporting a bill that was roughly similar to the House version of the Build Back Better bill, they would have been able to make some tweaks to get it across the finish line by the end of the year. The fact that they cannot do so suggests that the differences are much more significant.
The bottom line is that in the coming year, the bill that vulnerable House Democrats voted for is likely to either die in the Senate, or change significantly. The decision by Pelosi to go full speed ahead is going to make next November even more painful for Democrats.
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