Politics

President Biden’s social spending bill likely to pass Senate without many cuts or changes, analysts say

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion social-spending and climate package will receive the Senate’s approval this month. Two analysts from differing sides of the political spectrum say that promise seems likely to be fulfilled

Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, was one of the analysts speaking on Wednesday with MarketWatch. “I think the chances are very, very good that this bill will pass, and I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it, but I would predict that it’s going to happen by this month,” he said.

Kyle Pomerleau, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agreed with Hanlon while discussing the matter with MarketWatch. “I think that the Build Back Better Act ultimately passes,” he said. “I think before Christmas seems like a reasonable timeline. There are other political challenges involved, if this bleeds over into next year, and I think that the Democrats want to avoid that.” 

According to Hanlon, Democrats might also be motivated by their desire to evade a lapse in monthly child tax credit payments. Those payouts began over the summer and give up to $300 per child to families, and they would be extended for another year in the current version of the Build Back Better Act.

“The child tax credit payments – the last one would be done on Dec. 15, and so I think the Democrats are going to want to continue those into January and not have them cut off suddenly,” added Hanlon.

Both Hanlon and Pomerleau agree that they do not expect massive changes to the Build Back Better Act’s total cost, even as Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has expressed his opposition to some items in the House version of the bill. He has particularly highlighted the plan for paid leave as well as a $4,500 tax credit for electric vehicles manufactured in unionized U.S. factories.

Pomerleau spoke to the total cost of the Act saying, “I think that $2 trillion in spending, including the tax credits, is a reasonable place that they will end up.” Hanlon also noted the negotiations that happened this year to get the Act in its current form after Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, proposed a larger spending package.

“If you back up to where we started with President Biden’s agenda and Sen. Sanders’ budget, we’re doing to a relatively narrow, limited set of issues and a pretty narrow band of a total price tag,” he said.

“I might expect that to shrink somewhat because of Sen. Manchin, but not that much,” he added. “I think 90% of the bill will stay the same.” Democrats cannot afford to lose Manchin’s vote, as he typically sides with Democrats, which will be crucial since the Senate split by party is 50-50. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CNBC

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