Build Back Better Verges on Collapse as Manchin Attempts to Kill Child Tax Credit

Yves here. As indicated in Links, this outcome comes as no surprise, even if the particulars of Manchin’s machinations might be. If Manchin could be moved by any bribes or threats or punishments that Biden were willing to deliver, this bill would have been passed months ago.

And not passing this bill doesn’t just mean that the Biden Administration is prematurely in lame duck territory. It also means less spending just at Omicron is about to give a big pounding to travel, hospitality and brick and mortar shopping, as well as do secondary economic damage, like lead to the postponement of elective surgeries.

By Jake Johnson. Originally published at Common Dreams

The Build Back Better Act is teetering on the brink of collapse following reports Wednesday that right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin wants to eliminate the boosted child tax credit, a move that would push millions of kidsacross the U.S. back into poverty.

Meanwhile, Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday voted in favor of a sprawling $778 billion military spending bill—the 11th consecutive Pentagon budget he’s supported without complaining about the cost. The legislation easily passed in bipartisan fashion, 88-11.

Citing an unnamed source, Manu Raju of CNN reported that Manchin (D-W.Va.) wants to “zero it out,” referring to the expanded child tax credit (CTC). The Washington Postsimilarly reported that “Manchin hopes to defund [the CTC] from the bill in full.”

“If you wanted to kill BBB completely, this is how you would do it,” Judd Legum, author of the Popular Informationnewsletter, wrote of Manchin’s approach.

Manchin’s latest objection all but ensures that Senate Democrats won’t vote on their flagship reconciliation bill before Christmas—a target set by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—and could imperil the party’s chances of passing the $1.75 trillion legislation at all, given the need for unanimous Democratic support in the upper chamber.

If the bill doesn’t pass before year’s end, monthly CTC payments will lapse, depriving millions of struggling families of cash that they’ve used to pay for food, child care, and other necessities amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The West Virginia Democrat’s reported push to slash the boosted CTC—which he didn’t deny Wednesday when confronted by journalists—prompted immediate outrage from progressive commentators and Democratic senators, who said any attempt to cut the program is unacceptable.

“Put the bill on the floor and make him explain that he voted it down because he wanted to cut all of the money for families with children,” writer Zach Carter suggested. “Manchin has already given Republicans the Virginia governor’s race. You cannot let him drag this out indefinitely, again.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told reporters Wednesday that “we need the child tax credit,” which currently sends eligible families monthly payments of up to $300 per child under the age of six and $250 per child between the ages of six and 17.

As it stands, the Build Back Better Act would extend the enhanced CTC for just another year. Manchin and other right-wing Democrats tanked efforts to make the program permanent.

“It has cut childhood poverty in America by nearly half,” Warren said of the CTC expansion.

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  1. diptherio

    Has the Biden admin or the Dem congressional leadership done anything to Manchin apart from the “sternly worded letter” stuff? Seems like there should be something they could do to make his life hell, or at the very least reduce his fundraising ability.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sternly worded? At one point, Manchin said he hadn’t even been in touch with the White House. Manchin’s little outburst yesterday at a reporter is probably a sign that “c’mon man” if directed at Manchin would actually work. It just that Biden only lobbies people who are worried about cutting off poor people normally.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Ahh, diptherio, how I long for the days of yesteryear, when Lyndon Baines Johnson would have dragged Manchin to the White House and beat the stuffing out of him (and Sinema and a few others). I guess I’m too darn patriarchal, thinking that concrete material benefits are what matter.

      Also, if it turns out that Manchin is running his show on social media (not in contact with the White House?), what we see here is the deterioration of life in general just because any cretin has a platform. (Paging Kirsten Sinema, paging Pete Buttigieg, paging Hillary Clinton, Queen of Maundering on Using Anyone’s Platform.)

      When people here wonder aloud that the commenters are too hard on the Democrats, they don’t seem to get that (1) the Republicans have party discipline because (2) conservatives respect hierarchy. Meanwhile, even if the Democrats had 90 senators, they would still have lightweight newbies like Sinema tripping the light fantastic and gutting bills. Because, as we all know, Joe Lieberman and the Liebermanoids must vote their meretricious consciences.

      Also, too, does this mean that the so-called Pro-Act, the bill that tries to make it easier to unionize, is in jeopardy? And once the Democrats make it abundantly clear one more time that they don’t care about the lousy labor laws in the U.S., about horrible working conditions, about low wages–are we truly to listen to someone going on about “Don’t Be Hard on the Democrats”?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Manchin is a tool, but all the focus doesn’t have to be on him. That fact that the focus is on him is just the kayfabe surrounding all of this.

      If the Dem leadership really wanted to pass this (which I don’t believe they do), then what about putting pressure on some of the supposedly “moderate” Republicans? This seems like something Susan Collins ought to be voting for to prove her real moderate bona fides. But they don’t even try pressuring Republicans since they would rather use them as an excuse for getting nothing done.

      1. gnatt

        your point is key. biden and the dems have put zero pressure on the republicans. there are quite a few senators running next year whose constituents might be annoyed that they’re not sticking up for the admittedly small number of goodies still left in the build back better bag. trump would have been all over every means at his disposal to blame anyone who wouldn’t fall in line. so what we get for months now us democrats fighting democrats and biden ineffective. if the rout in afghanistan didn’t make him look weak and ineffective enough, this sure does. and the more people get scared the more they look for strength in their leaders. so goodbye dems next year and goodbye in ’24 unless they can come up with something fdr or lbj like. which they can’t because they’re not on our team. thatcher said that her greatest achievment was tony blair. reagan’s was clinton and obama and now biden. we’re sunk.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          All the Republicans’s ” just to make sure” work at re-engineering electoral systems and staffing all the certification-positions with embeds who will fake-certify the losing Republicans and fake-declare their losers to be winners and etc. in order to overthrow elections they lose and install their losing candidates into office may be redundant.

          They may just have to be alert and catch all the elections the Democrats throw to them on purpose in 2022 and 2024. Do they even have enough hands to catch all the elections the Democrats plan to throw to them on purpose?

          Hmm. . . what if the Democrats know very well that a Bigger Financial Crash and the Greatest Depression of All Time are on the way . . . . and they want to put the Republicans into all the visible positions to take the credit for it?

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? Tell me how the Democrats threaten Collins. She survived a very well funded Dem challenger last time, and she’s not up for reelection until 2027. Biden is very likely to be gone before she is. Political pundits see the Senate going more to Republicans in 2024 and them lucky to hold on to what they have in 2022.

          This is from Vox in Oct:

          In 2022, Kelly (Arizona), Warnock (Georgia), and Cortez Masto (Nevada) are up for Democrats; Rubio (Florida) and the retiring Burr (North Carolina) for Republicans, plus Johnson and Toomey, Republicans in states that Biden won. That’s a relatively balanced map, meaning that Democrats’ biggest problem will be defying historical trends that the president’s party tends to lose voter support in the midterms. A bigger shift, or unique circumstances specific to the candidates, could also put other races in play.

          But 2024 could be an utter debacle for Democrats in the Senate if the election goes poorly for them. Sinema, Baldwin, Casey, Rosen, and Stabenow are all up, along with the Trump-state Democrats Manchin, Tester, and Brown. Meanwhile, Rick Scott is the only Republican in a close state up that year.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            My point is they could at least make an effort, seeing as Biden is supposed to be Mr. Bipartisanship and all. Well prove it then. Use the bully pulpit. If Biden thinks he’s going to get re-elected, then flex a little muscle and show some strength – voters are going to re-elect a damp squib. I used Collins as an example since I’m familiar with her, but there are others.

            Just my $.02, but I really believe that part of the reason Sarah Gideon lost to Collins is precisely because she was so well funded, and not with the $27 kind of donations. The TV ads were incessant, to the point I really despised both candidates. And Gideon came across as just a rich woman for whom politics was a nice hobby to keep her busy during the day. As much as I dislike her, Collins came across as more down to earth even though she’s taking the same massive out of state donations.

            1. BlakeFelix

              And I would point out (legal)bribery should be on the table. If they are going to let Manchin and Sinema write the bill, they should at least ask Collins and Rand Paul or whoever to write a counter offer. To my understanding they won’t return their calls…

    4. Lois

      I haven’t voted for a Democrat at the Federal level since 2008, after which it became obvious Obama and Co. were a bait and switch. And when Biden was pushed through I was sure he was the wrong man for the moment. Neoliberal, lazy, and clearly on the dementia downslope. But even I am amazed at how bad a job his administration is doing. On COVID at this point I’m not even sure you can say Trump was worse! There seems to be absolutely no interest in self preservation at all among DC Democrats. Or maybe they just want to preserve their consulting and fundraising jobs, and actually running things is just do darned hard.

    5. William Neil

      “However, his behavior towards “acting President” Joe Manchin is inexplicable except by the not quite hidden clue that Biden spoke his heart’s desire to the corporate world: nothing much would change. Biden essentially handed a co-presidency to Manchin under the 50-50 Senate tie’s logic of making “every Senator” a near president with “veto” power. It seems this has been the guiding assumption and you know what? It doesn’t seem to have made Biden angry or restless at all. A strong hint about what’s going on, that he’s comfortable with Manchin playing the heavy in the evisceration of his proposals.

      Biden had at least three options vis a vis Manchin before he resigned his Presidency. One, a private meeting conceding some ground, but drawing a clear red line over the fate of the overall proposals. (Should have dangled and held off in appointing Manchin’s wife the job at the Appalachian Regional Commission). Second, a commitment, private and public to a genuine policy of “Just Transition” for displaced fossil fuel workers, instead of the farce on that issue contained in the 547 page House report on the Climate Crisis. That farce, out in public in June of 2020, was a strong clue about the capitulation of the party’s center to the status quo on climate. And third, Biden’s last resort was a public speech putting all the pressure on Manchin for wrecking the party and the country’s chance to move into the 21st century instead of staying moored, barge like, in the tides of the late 19th.
      This comment was posted as part of my response to Corey Robin’s assessment of the Biden Presidency which appeared in the NY Times and then at his own blog site.

          1. allan

            That Jacobin article stopped a little too soon:

            With the Mylan plant closing, Morgantown wonders what’s next [Mountain State Spotlight]

            Tina and Dave Sinsel thought they would one day retire from Mylan. …

            Sitting in the driveway is a new pickup truck that Dave is unsure they’re going to be able to afford. That’s because, also 10 years later, they’re losing their jobs.

            In November, Mylan, which makes generic and specialty drugs, merged with Upjohn, a Pfizer-owned company, to create Viatris. The announcement came less than a month later during a morning video meeting: as part of a global restructuring initiative, the Morgantown plant would shut down on July 31. …

            Around 1,500 others employed at the plant are in the same boat as the Sinsels. And the consequences of the plant closure goes farther than the workers and their families. The economic fallout of the closure looms on the horizon, leaving elected officials as well as union and business leaders to pick up the pieces left behind as a high-paying and large employer shuts down the plant. …

            Needless to say this was baked in when Mylan coupled with Upjohn to spawn Viatris. The Bresch-Manchin clan gives ZF about the working people of WV.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, but Biden has Hunter….Trump exercised remarkable restraint in not going after the Clinton Foundation. It paying for Chelsea’s wedding gave an easy opening to turn the place upside down.

            Admittedly this is the Dems eating their own, but using the DoJ against pols for political ends can open the door to all sorts of nasties.

  2. JohnA

    And yet, apparently Manchin is also anti-abortion. With abortion becoming increasingly hard to access, more women will be forced to give birth, knowing they do not have the financial resources to care for a child. And now even this meagre mite will be snatched away from them. The USA is a strange, illogical, and exceedingly uncaring country. Make sure a child is born, then make sure it does not get any help in life.

  3. Tom Stone

    My goodness gracious, I’m SHOCKED.
    Shocked,I tell you.
    Hoocoodanode something like this might happen?

  4. haywood

    There’s no reason big pieces of legislation can’t pass in an election year, many have. Not sure how or when this idea to the contrary took hold in the media.

    I suspect some semblance of this package will pass next year or, if the DNC writes off the midterms, then the year following. The usual suspects will do their terrible things and the already maimed social provisions will likely be further weakened/privatized. But I do think it will happen. There’s simply too much money on the line and too few actual opponents within the caucus for it to fail entirely, I suspect.

    1. Milton

      Congress just passed a $12T* Defense appropriation bill with nary a dissent from the supposed left-leaning members.

      *10 year with escalators

      1. scott s.

        This is incorrect. Defense appropriations bill was reported out of the House Committee. Currently, Defense is funded by H.R. 6119 (Further Extending Government Funding Act) passed and signed 3 Dec and providing appropriations through 18 Feb 2022. Expect to see an omnibus appropriations act next year.

        What was passed was the 2022 NDAA which, following the arcane budget/appropriation process “authorizes” funding, but doesn’t actually provide it.

  5. peter

    I hate to say it but I also do not support the child tax credit. It would be interesting to see a legitimate analysis of it’s effects. However, I can’t see anyway that the child tax credits won’t increase poverty for many with very limited help to a smallish segment of the population (poor parents that get the money). Many wealthier families will do things like buy rental houses. Poor families will have more to pay in inelastic rents so rents will rise in a similar proportion. Single or elderly people without kids will suffer.

    Let’s not even get into bad parents and such. If one wanted to help children the correct approach is universal healthcare, free lunches at school. That sort of thing. I have no doubt that the tax credit would help many but it’s about as far from a universal good as anything.

    1. haywood

      That tax credit provides a huge relief for poor and working class parents, like me. Day care costs more than my rent. Babysitting is extraordinarily expensive. My kid’s dental insurance (state employee benefits!) has a 4K deductible!!! Do you know how much diapers cost? Braces? The average American lives with no savings, on the razor’s edge of destitution, praying every day that their car doesn’t blow a gasket or their appendix doesn’t burst.

      I will say though, that our day care did raise its price by 150/month after this CTC went into effect. So it’s not without market impact. But that’s fine, since they also raised teacher wages and instituted a PTO program with some of the increased revenue.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      This argument reminds me of the scab in the documentary “Harlan County, USA” who explained his lack of the support for the union and its demands for higher wages by arguing that it did no good to make more money because the government would just take it all in taxes. Those 100% tax rates are brutal.

      The families in my neighborhood need this money. If 10% of it actually goes toward improving a poor child’s life, then that’s worth it. A higher level of “efficiency” would certainly be desirable, and there are things that could be done to improve it, but it’s parents who must do some things for children, and some of those things require money unless you’re going to have Universal Clothes, Universal Toys, etc.

      I’m waiting for Graeber’s book, but I did have the chance to read Chris Smaje’s review of it. Smaje is the author of Small Farm Future and has taken a lot of heat about the central importance he gives to the family unit. Most human societies that we know about–not all, but most–start with the family as the basic unit and build from there. Given the direction things are headed, I think it’s very doubtful we’ll ever see the kind of investment in socialized child care that would be necessary to replace the care and nurturing that the family provides even considering the far-less-ideal state of many families.

      If we aren’t advocating going to some wholly socialized, non-family-based system of childcare–think The Dispossessed–then we’d better be doing as much as we can to strengthen existing family units as long as we have a government with the power to print.

      1. peter

        I on’t feel that your equivocation of my argument is fair. There is a fair bit of detail that we could go into but the fact remains. Housing is fairly inelastic. I don’t know what it’s like where you live but it seems like every house goes for the absolute maximum a normal person can pay. It’s interesting to see the similarity in price of say even 2bed 1bath houses and 4bed 3 bath houses.

        I am willing to accept that this will help poor families with kids. You can’t dispute that even a small increase in rent say $100-200 would be very painful for the elderly who are poor or other individuals living on the edge.

        When I see things like braces brought into this argument (not yours) it seems insanely disingenuous. There is a huge difference between being semi homeless and not having money for braces (I got them as an adult as well).

        1. LarryMotuz

          I think you have gone into the ‘deserving’ hellhole. I think anyone with children warrants a child tax credit for those children’s care needs. If, for some higher earners, you think it should be at least partially taxed back, design legislation that progressively, marginally taxes back on earnings from all sources with the lower cut-off indexed for inflation and starting at twice the median earned income from all sources.

        2. InThePines

          I’m a lot more concerned about REITs’ influence on my housing situation. If the credit makes a qualitative difference in the way somebody lives, they’re not rich.

        3. JohnnyGL

          I wouldn’t blow off braces quite so lightly. It’s a huge class marker in a highly stratified society.

          People take in subtle signals like that when going for job interviews. You’re significantly penalizing your kid’s future job prospects if you let them give off a ‘lower-class’ appearance. You can say it’s somewhat of a luxury, but 21st Century America says it’s a pre-requisite to join the middle class. A lot like 4-yr degrees and homeownership, these days.

          A better angle for discussion might be why they cost so damned much! I’m shelling out for them right now!

        4. The Historian

          Please don’t do this! You are trying to pit one segment of our society against another and that is NEVER helpful. Plus I think you are bringing up strawmen. Housing costs have NOTHING to do with child tax credits. And yes, universal health care and free lunches would help, but those are not the only things a parent needs to raise a child. Child tax credits let them decide what they need – not everyone needs the same things. And while I despise Hillary Clinton, there is one thing that she said that is true: It does take a village to raise a child and that includes all of us collectively making sure our children do well.

      2. Judith

        Henry: Thanks for the link to the Chris Smaje review. I am in the thick of the Graeber/Wengrow book and it is good to read some thoughtful commentary to aid my understanding. Ideally, Graeber would still be with us because I expect he would be deeply engaged in a dialog about the ideas.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Wouldn’t that be wonderful? It hit me when I heard that he had died that we need minds like his now more than ever. It was comforting in a way when I learned that this book was being published.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Huh. So first some history:

      The child tax credit was initially structured in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-34) as a $500-per-child nonrefundable credit to provide tax relief to middle- and upper-middle-income families. Since 1997, various laws have modified key parameters of the credit, expanding the availability of the benefit to more low-income families while also increasing the value of the tax credit. The first significant change to the child tax credit occurred with the enactment of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001

      It’s bipartisan.


      Despite these shortcomings, which policymakers should address, the CTC is a powerful weapon against poverty. It lifted approximately 4.3 million people out of poverty in 2018, including about 2.3 million children, and lessened poverty for another 12 million people, including 5.8 million children. It lifts even more families with children out of poverty when combined with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). (See figure.) Many of these low-income families are ineligible for other tax-based assistance for children, like the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which is not refundable.

      Granted, you might disagree with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities findings. Or we have from the Tax Foundations conclusions:

      The Child Tax Credit reduces tax liability for parents with dependents and assists families in escaping poverty.

      So there’s that.

    4. QuicksilverMessenger

      Yes Peter! Excellent! I do have one question: Where can I purchase my rental property for the $17 a month I receive for my child credit? I am anxious to retire and your advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  6. p fitzsimon

    I doubt that the Republicans would want him. Why not just kick him out of the party and let him become an independent?

    1. timbers

      Why not kick him out?

      Because Team Blue would just replace him, that’s why. Reading Down With Tyranny…plot never changes, only the names and faces. Manchin is Dem’s MOST important Senator. They get to blame HIM for all the policy THEY all support…because Dems have their official public policy, and their secret real policy (aka Hillary).

      But you probably already know that :-)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . why not take away all his committee assignments and let him kick himself out if he doesn’t like it?

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Lordie, please stop this. Manchin would almost certainly be replaced by a R. The West Va. governor, legislature, and its junior Senator are all Rs.

    2. Old Jake

      What is the “party” you want to kick him out of? This is not the UK where there is a party which accepts you. In this country it’s people like him who *are* the party. It’s a class, not an organization. Hmmm, I think there’s a comedian’s line somewhere that relates to that.

  7. Leftcoastindie

    In a way I am surprised that the republicans don’t support the CTC. Just like the Earned Income Tax Credit it will relieve the pressure to increase wages. What’s not to like if you are a republican.

    1. JohnnyGL

      In all seriousness, it’s literally because Biden and the Dems passed it in the first place.

      If/when Trump or DeSantis gets into office, they will then decide if they’re going to keep it, or not, or even increase it, you’ll instantly see the entirety of team R jump on board.

      The same thing happened with mailing out checks. Team R loved mailing checks when they were Trump checks, and immediately flipped on a dime and hated them when they became Biden checks.

  8. nippersdad

    At this point it appears to me that killing off the BBB would be a better option than keeping it. Bruenig’s analysis of the child care portion is now fodder for my right wing congressman via the Washington Examiner, and the rest doesn’t appear to be much better. Unfortunately, it looks like however counterproductive it may end up being that will not stop Jayapal from pushing it when it comes back to the House:

    Which reminded me of this from October:

    Better no bill than one which will convince people that Progressive policy is a disaster. They have a perfect set-up for running against corporate Dems, and IMO they should take advantage of it. Just run down the list of things that have been eliminated, cut short or bastardized in favor of a huge tax cut for rich people and then thank Joe Manchin/Kyrstin Sinema and Josh Gottheimer for their input. Let them run on their records and see who wins.

    1. BeliTsari

      But, but… wasn’t THIS, their top sekrit nefarious schtick? If’n Berniebro™ Socialism Lite actually harshed Massa’s feeding-frenzy buzz; and our boss, landlord, creditors & retired yuppies expect a 85% jump in NASDAQ valuations, every time they flip our loved-ones’ homes or indenture millions more chronically PASC victims into 1099 gig serfdom; Nancy, Sluggo and “our” party just has to fork lemmings LOTS faster?

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for some balance. Manchin may suck but the party he belongs to also sucks. Just a reminder that Manchin wouldn’t have all that power if the Dems had more than a one vice president majority in the Senate. The truth is that those poor people who are going to suffer are an electoral non factor which is why the Dems prefer to campaign on pretending to care rather than the real deal. Meanwhile Pelosi is making pathetic excuses for her conflict of interest stock trading. People notice.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Her own voters in her own Limousine Liberal district applaud her for it. It she runs again, she could get 85% of the vote in her district just because of that statement alone.

        1. JBird4049

          Pelosi’s district includes most of San Francisco including the Tenderloin, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, and the Mission, which have what is left of the working class. So, not all of her constituents would vote for her, but the San Francisco Bay Area is run by the Democratic Party establishment including the local NGOs. It is a one party area. Pelosi is the party’s queen after Biden. With San Francisco’s city government and general establishment being corrupt as anything, they will help destroy whoever is either not Pelosi or her chosen successor.

          I pity the person who would try to run against her in the primary, and I am not even sure that the Republicans will bother putting in a candidate. This is when I wish we had a functioning Republican Party in California that was not insane and/or to the right of the John Birch Society.

          Both parties can be as corrupt and incompetent as they are because the weasels have become one party districts in much of the country. Sometimes with the help of the other party. They have no pressure to be honest and competent.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            What would happen if all the votable citizens of Tenderloin, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, and the Mission all came out and all voted Republican just to spite Pelosi and the Pelosi voters? Anything?

            Maybe at the within-California level she would support further anti-poors legislation to get even with them for doing that?

            ” Hey! Hey! Pelosay! How many shares did you sell to-day?”

      2. JohnnyGL

        I actually welcome Pelosi’s honest corruption. It’s almost as refreshing as Trump’s honest rottenness.

        Now that it’s in the open, the real question shifts to your local rep, “hey why are YOU voting for and with a leader that is on the record as ‘pro-insider trading’ and ‘pro-corruption’?”

    3. JohnnyGL

      You’re completely correct if you look at Jayapal and the Progs as a group that wants to take control of the party. They should eagerly welcome the upcoming bloodbath that’s expected for team Dem as a welcome chance to clear out the deadwood and put them in prime position to take control of the party and determine its future direction.

      But, unfortunately, they don’t see themselves that way. Not even a bit. When a hack like Terry MacAuliffe loses, they mourn it as a loss for their team. When hack dems win, they welcome that as a win for themselves, too. They don’t look at Schumer, Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, etc and see a group of rotten, sclerotic leaders that are long overdue for replacement. Nope, not at all. After all, they voted for them to remain as leaders of the party! They see themselves as loyal members of the democratic party who would like to convince leadership to allow them and their ideas to gently pull policy a bit to the left and they want their team to win. They also don’t want to take any risks to get their policy preferences implemented. If they think picking a public fight would risk bad PR for their team, they won’t wage that fight. They have their policy preferences, many of which our crowd here at NC would agree with, but their loyalty is to the party, and it’s leadership, first. Policy takes a back seat.

  9. Louis Fyne

    in absolute terms (not just relative) look at the number of families with <18 children in the US, declining since the Hope & Change years. less than 25% of households has kids now.

    Of course Manchin has no compulsion acting the way he is…there will be zero consequence to him at the ballot box given both declining numbers of voters with kids and hyper-partisan body politic.

    Not defending Manchin. I'm just the messenger. Don't flame me. Flame Dopey Change Man and Company who ruined the post-2008 recovery and literally scarred the country for a generation.

  10. Adam1

    I’ve got a 14 year old son who will be so traumatized by this if BBB fails. From the beginning I’ve really tried to temper his expectations as I’ve learned to see political theater from a mile away and I knew what was being sold was not what was going to make it to law.

    We live in a very well to do suburban community of Rochester, NY. My boys are boy scouts and every year we drive up to boy scout summer camp near Tupper Lake, NY. It’s a 4 hour drive, but ½ the drive is along route 3 in fly over country. Rural poverty is endemically visible: closed up stores, restaurant, factories… as well as abandon homes and neglected homes everywhere. In the heart of ailing Tupper Lake village is the long abandon Ovid Wood Dish factory on the north side of route 3 and to the south is several hundred (maybe 1000) acres of basically wide open land at the north end of Tupper Lake. Prime real estate one would think, but it’s basically a combination of thrown together park space, gravel parking lot and abandoned ground. If you do a bit of googling you’ll realize most of it is actually abandon ground of a half dozen or more paper mills and saw mills.

    A PMC/DNL/Clintonite person might just grumble that these people are all just stupid for not moving to where the jobs are, my son wants to know why can’t we get jobs to these communities. He’s even research the history of the Ovid Wood Dish factory and emailed several state legislative members and got the standard reply of something like ‘we’re working on finding a business capable of bring job to the space.’

    If I didn’t have my lefty economic/finance background and all the insights and information from Nakedcapitalism, my son would be a flaming Trumper. And how could he not be given his compassion and what he sees year in and year out with no change even if he personally doesn’t have to live through it. And yet communities like this need the CTC and even the garbage money of the BBB and they aren’t going to get either.

    More votes for Trump in 2024 from where I sit – of course there is no real TRUE alternative, the DNC has made sure of that.

    1. MK

      Pittsford? Brighton? Webster – where life is worth living?

      In any event, Machin should just say – the extra $1,000 goes to those households under $50,000 AGI. Everyone over gets the ‘normal’ amount.

      1. Adam1

        You’re playing their game. Yes a $1,000 to someone making $50k is real meaningful money; but why cut there? Now you’ve pissed off everyone between $51k and I don’t know… $75k where that $1,000 was still important.

        The problem is if you play their game they’ll only agree to something like that. Then they win because their is more division so long as as you don’t give it to everyone. Division is where they get their power from. If you give it to everyone then there is some solidarity and for some people it’s the difference between being forced to work a sh*t job and not. Now we really can’t have that. Desperate workers is #1 one the 1% menu and you can’t take that away without a real hissy fit.

        1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

          Division is where they get their power from.

          Perfectly descriptive and succinct.

          However, I’ve never bought into the 99% vs the 1%; I think it’s more like the 75% vs the 25%, or something like that.

          Of course I’m a proud member of the upper lower-class, so that clearly colors my opinions.

          1. Adam1

            You’re not 100% mis-placed. Obviously the status quo is not just the 1%. Just look at the electorate. More people DID NOT VOTE for either Hillary or Trump. There are the people who still want/think the system to work and then there are those Red/Blue/Right/Left/etc… who are invested in the system. Scrape off the wishful thinkers of either side and you have most of your top 15-20%. However for the truly sociopathic 1% even those people are expendable.

            This is the class that eventually has to chose between kin, community, less privileged friends and their sponsor(s) when sh*t really hits the fan. They don’t have private planes and islands to evacuate too. But until we get to that level of sh*t hitting the fan it can be hard to distinguish the difference between the 1% and the top 15% because they are invested in the status quo – unless they are a “class traitor”; or see that light, I mean oncoming train at the end of the tunnel.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I’ve more thought about it as the Top Ten Percent, the Next Nine Percent, and the Lower 90 Percent at the Bottom.

            If you could get the Lower 90 to SEE themselves AS the Lower 90, that is a division in our favor which we could win.

            ” The Top Ten have never had to pay for what they did to our country. They haven’t even begun to pay.”

            ” But they will. They will pay. We will make them pay.”

            1. BeliTsari

              We’ve seen a LOT of our 9.9% PMC librul neighbors jump to 2% (jeepers, “essential,” I’d love to tip you, but the ATM & you are DISEASED!) based upon disruptive NASDAQ equities (ie: hip, Creative Class™ vs retired yuppie S&P portfolios?) So, “our” reactionary kleptocrats like Biden are a god-send to older DJI crumudgeons? Nancy’s NVDA seems to typify their febrile distraction, during Trump’s COVID Crash? NYC slumlord super-delegates were busy (upstate!) flipping 34K serendipitously vacant rent-stabilized apartments & up-coding a couple million ill, 1099’d survivors?

    2. Lost in OR

      my son would be a flaming Trumper

      I have a 15yo son. His PMC mother and associates (all suffering from TDS and wokeism) do their best to swing him neolib. I do my best to point out the tag-team the two parties represent. And he gets it. It helps that his mother & Co all went back to brunch, as predicted.

      His natural inclination is very conservative. There is nobody in his personal life that could be leading him in that direction. His poking and prodding at the hollow core of the liberal world infuriates his mother. His fascination with Wall St and wingnuts (ala Ben Shipiro) disappoints me. But we talk about it all and I give him his space. Especially as he doesn’t do any of the stupid stuff young men are prone to doing.

      I wonder if we are bringing up a generation of young conservatives.

        1. JBird4049

          I wish him luck. Neither party is what they are ostensibly supposed to be, which is liberal with a dash of leftism or conservative.

          I would argue that they are both very conservative economically with the Democrats is replacing old line liberal thought with Wokeism with the Republicans becoming more insanely reactionary; one can see the use of changing the meaning of words, of the appropriate views or beliefs, of the need to say the right words or die, perhaps literally, in some revolutionary movement; the Republicans are sounding like the reactionary elites of countries in South America or perhaps in Indonesia.

          There is large amount of thought, of ideologies and philosophies across the political spectrum, but it has all being stripped out and replaced with cartoonist caricatures of what left/right, liberal/conservative is economically, socially, religiously, or in the community. It is all about the Money.

  11. Randy

    I’ve said this before, but again, it’s like these guys don’t want to keep their jobs. See also: bringing back student loan payments next year. I’ve already seen the “Trump did more for me than any Democrat ever has” memes, and they aren’t wrong.

    1. Adam1

      No they do, you just need to reframe your view. We have the BEST congress MONEY can buy. Manchin is just doing what he was paid to do. You don’t fire good employees like that. And if he does lose at the ballot box, well “someone” will take care of him – wink, wink.

    2. Soredemos

      Manchin doesn’t want to keep his current job. He literally doesn’t care; he’s getting what he can now and making deals for the future.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bad training. They got away with a great deal during the Obama years combined with the Trump furor.

      They genuinely expected for a 2009 vibe to return simply by showing up. Everyone was way too nice to these people. Its like trying to explain to a dog that they suddenly can’t get on the furniture. They received the “girl boss” treatment collectively, and its a reached a point where Pelosi is claiming gross corruption is good.

  12. timbers

    Right wing Democrats. That’s so un-MSM. They’d probably look at you like you we speaking a foreign language if those words were used in front of them.

    1. Mike Elwin

      I’ve encountered what we’d call right-wing Democrats in three places: a labor union, a non-profit radio station, and a media non-profit. The three were liberal organizations, and the right-wingers were trying to take them over. Being Democrats was irrelevant to the right-wingers, just a convenience, an easy way to bamboozle the organizations’ liberal leadership into opening the doors to them. I can’t see Manchin’s and Sinema’s Democratness as anything more than that.

      Biden seems to have liberal principles, but pretty mild ones. It’s difficult to see him being okay with his failures. Surely he wants to make his mark as a president. Maybe he rose to the level of his incompetence. Maybe he just doesn’t have the personal skills the country needs him to have.

  13. Wukchumni

    The Donkey Show-while fascinating to watch, always gets it wrong in the assets department, but at least admission is free.

    1. ambrit

      The Donkey Show is really more of a Twenty Mule Team, dutifully carrying freight for their Masters and the Company. Remember who was the “Oficial Spokesperson” for the Twenty Mule Team? Right, Ronald {Family Blogging} Reagan.
      Our future under Neo-liberalism:
      Today’s Democrat Party would be instantly recognizable to someone from the 1950s or 1960s as a cabal of “Moderate Republicans.” To steal a line from Dick Nixon, the Democrat Party Aparatchiks of today would be “Cloth Coat Republicans,” those “cloth coats” being lined with mink, of course.

  14. Hepativore

    At this point, since almost everything useful in the BBB has been stripped out, watered-down, or means-tested, does it really matter if the bill fails? All of the corporate giveaways and privatization measures are still in the bill.

    If it passes, Biden and the rest of the Democrats will probably hold it up as an example of how they pushed through groundbreaking legislation that saved the country and tell everybody:

    “We did what you wanted, so shut up!”

    The Democrats’ art of kayfabe can put that of the professional wrestling circuit to shame.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I was coming here to make a similar comment. At this point, what of the bill is left to collapse? Seems to me it’s all over but the PR spin.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      When the BBB bill has been made worthless, it will then be passed to re-inforce the lesson of “learned helplessness” being carefully fostered on purpose with malice aforethought among the electorate.

      And if any DemProgs turn against it in the final House vote, there will be just-enough Republicans voting for it to re-inforce the lesson that government does not care and will only pass empty worthless bills.

      Perhaps we should call it the Build Back Bitter bill.

  15. Starry Gordon

    I don’t know what all the complaints are about. We all knew we were going to get this, didn’t we?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The bill will pass. The SALT deduction increase is in there.

      Nobody gives a shit about the kids – The PMC needs their payoff.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The PMC does not fund Manchin.

        SALT is not a big deal in a low housing price state like West Va. Most of the well off are self employed or business owners. That plus being in commercial real estate are the best two tax shelters for the well off, as opposed to stinking rich.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Schumer needs this, not Manchin. SALT deduction increase is going to be his jewel in the crown for his re-election campaign. Chuck Schumer will sell out anyone, anytime, anywhere to get a re-election edge.
          Ninty percent of Long Island will be affected when this goes through.
          This bill will pass. (At least the SALT portion will.)

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            So? Why do New York’s needs matter one iota to Manchin? New York is hated in much of America.

            If Schumer and Biden could have moved Manchin, they would have done so already.

            Schumer’s only lever is committee assignments. Once he’s done that he can’t go back. Even if he tries to lark pork in a bill for Manchin, it may not survive reconciliation.

            Biden has more ability to offer sticks and carrots and yet here we have Manchin not having budged after months. This is an utter embarrassment and confirms that Manchin, in a deep red state, really isn’t going anywhere.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      All eyes are upon him as he struts and postures upon the stage. So he gets more ego-stroking as a lonely party once again turns its eyes to Coaly Joe.

      And he probably expects some after-office rewards and payoffs for getting CTC out of the bill. That would all be money he won’t get once he becomes Citizen Coaly if he lets it into the bill. That’s just speculation, of course. And you know what Peggy Newnan says about speculation. ” Would it be irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.”

    2. praxis

      Power. Ego. Imagine the power trip he gets by being the arbitrator of the cookie jar. I really don’t read much into DC politics/theater, however, I would not be surprised that BBB was gonna get canned from the beginning because it was largely sponsored by an ‘outsider’. So now they all get to spit in Bernie’s face. If the legislation had actually been a Biden program or some other acceptable member of the party, I reckon it would not have run into as much opposition. I don’t thing many of them really care what is in the legislation they pass (other than some amount of cookies for themselves.)

      1. Mike Elwin

        And lobbyists’ money. In legislators’ response to me, so many of them just repeat the 2 or 3 paragraphs of whatever campaign they’ve agreed to support. When pushed, they reveal that those paragraphs are all they know about the issue at hand; they’re shockingly ignorant. They protecting their jobs, not the country.

  16. Julio

    Two interesting aspects of this new expansion of the child tax credit were:

    1) About half of the estimated benefit was distributed through monthly payments. I suspect that small, unpredictable monthly payments generate less enthusiasm than a visibly larger tax refund in the spring (unpredictable because the IRS hasn’t always sent them out to those who qualify, and because they adjust the payments as prior year tax information is updated). Also, since part of these monthly payments is attributable to the existing CTC, some folks may get smaller than expected refunds in the spring. For less wealthy folks, tax refunds are often a de facto savings mechanism that allows them to buy big ticket items or pay off a debt. Somebody prioritized immediate cash payments when the final relief package was formulated early in the year, even if a larger refund the following spring might benefit the recipients more.

    2) The aggressive phaseout of the additional CTC reduces cost, but also reduces broad support. The CTC approach that Rubio snuck into the Trump tax bill is probably superior, as an easy-to-understand benefit that is available to almost everyone. This was one of the approaches initially used to generate support for Social Security — offer a straightforward benefit to pretty much everyone.

  17. Ben Dalton

    I don’t get why it’s this “one mega-bill with everything except the kitchen sink thrown in” versus nothing. Why can’t they pass the parts agreeable to everyone (including republicans) first, and squabble over the rest later?

    1. JBird4049

      It’s horse trading. Each side gets something they want by voting for what the other side wants. Those who want child tax credits hold the those who want infrastructure, but not the credits, hostage and vice versa.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s an article about Jayapal’s Lament.

    Here’s a power the DemProg Caucus does have . . . the power to destroy. They have to power to vote against every single bill the CenterDems want, and keep doing it until the CenterDems vote unanimously yes on something the DemProg Caucus wants.

    Unfortunately, when I look at the picture of Jayapal, I do not see the face of a blood-hungry hyaena. I see the face of a sad little hamster. Am I being unfair?

    If only fate could someday match Jayapal versus some crafty old veteran for a very high office and Jayapal invokes the memory of Speaker Gingrich the Fighter. And then the crafty old veteran could say . . . ” I knew Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich was a friend of mine. And Representative? . . . . you’re no Newt Gingrich.”

  19. Sound of the Suburbs

    The futile forever wars must come first.
    If American children have to suffer, so be it.
    We must get our priorities right.

    This is the leader of the free world, it’s frightening.

  20. Pitt guy

    Here’s an idea that should have been explored. Instead of joining and then separating the Infrastructure Bill to BBB, they should have joined the Defense appropriations bill to BBB. Then the progressives could have demanded passage of them both together or no vote on the defense bill. See how Manchin, Sienma et al respond to that hardball.

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