Build Back Better Put On Back Burner By Democrats

Joe Manchin
Joe Manchin

Democrats must still agree on their top goals, even though legislators who made it tough last year — such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — are prepared to do it again this year.

Democrats have struggled to move anything from their Build Back Better Act, the party’s big social spending and climate policy, to voting rights due to Manchin’s opposition. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have repeatedly stymied the social spending bill, while simultaneously opposing the filibuster reform required to advance other initiatives without Republican backing. Because Democrats have the tiniest Senate majority, any progress on these aims will be contingent on gaining the support of both lawmakers.

Build Back Better Faces More Problems

As the midterm elections approach this autumn, legislators will have less time to mobilize behind both these proposals and prospective rule changes. Democrats are expected to lose the House majority in the elections. The Republican Party thinks that this trend, along with economic conditions, redistricting, and strong fundraising will give it an edge in the upcoming elections.

Senators will vote on the Build Back Better Act and filibuster reform in the coming weeks, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. They’re supposed to uncover any remaining differences within the caucus and show how popular both initiatives are.

The Build Back Better vote has yet to be set, but if Republicans filibuster another voting rights bill, which they are anticipated to do, the rules change will be voted on by January 17. With the rules vote, Democrats would be able to support a modification or exemption to the filibuster to enact voting rights legislation.

Neither the Build Back Better nor filibuster reform currently has the Democratic support required to move ahead. The party will have to break through extended stalemates to make headway on either topic.