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December 16, 2021 4:00 PM, EST

Biden Economic Bill Pushed to 2022 Amid Democrats’ Discord

Biden Economic Bill Pushed to 2022 Amid Democrats’ DiscordPresident Joe Biden (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

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Senate Democrats are abandoning efforts to pass President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion economic agenda this year, delivering a political blow to the White House, which has failed to rally the fractious party around its signature legislation.

The delay, confirmed by two people familiar with the matter, risks solidifying the intra-party divide on the legislation, which many Democrats consider key heading into the 2022 mid-term elections.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Every day that we delay is a bad day for the American people” Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders said. The Vermont independent vowed any changes to the bill would be to make it more in line with progressive priorities.

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Progressives and moderates have disagreed publicly on the size and scope of the package for months, although House Democrats were able to pass its version of the bill last month. But talks this week between Biden and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a key holdout, have gone poorly, people familiar with the negotiations have said.

Manchin, however, attributed the delay to the Senate parliamentarian’s ongoing scrub of the bill to ensure it complies with strict rules for the process Democrats are using to avert a Republican filibuster.

“They’re getting their job done,” Manchin said of the parliamentarian’s ongoing review. “When the parliamentarian gets their work done we’ll see what they have.”

Most of the benefits in the bill, which has no Republican support, would have taken months or even years to become reality. But expanded child tax credit payments that expired Dec. 15 are at risk of lapsing. The Internal Revenue Service had sought enactment of the bill before Dec. 28 to ensure Jan. 15 payments go out on time.

“The delay matters,” Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said. “If we do it in the first weeks of January it makes it a little more challenging for the secretary of the Treasury to get the checks out by Jan. 15.”

“But it’s going to all happen,” he said.

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