Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Tuesday that he would not support the one-year extension of the Child Tax Credit that is included in the $2 trillion social spending plan passed by the House. It raises the possibility that the proposed financial benefit would be altered further.
He has previously campaigned for a job requirement to be imposed as a condition of getting federal assistance. Manchin's ambiguous stance on the benefit highlights the possibility of changes to the House bill currently making its way through the Senate, which is evenly divided.
Manchin opposes Child Tax Credit extension
On November 19, House Democrats passed a vast climate, health, and childcare package that includes the majority of President Joe Biden's economic plan. Now it's up to all 50 Senate Democrats to rally behind the bill in order for it to pass the upper house.
Per Business Insider, the bulked-up Child Tax Credit will be renewed for around $190 billion. Since July, it has touched tens of millions of children through monthly payments, including many in Manchin's home state of West Virginia. According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, about 346,000 West Virginia children are eligible for assistance.
Manchin has added another stumbling hurdle to his party's efforts to enact President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion social and climate bill before Christmas. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday on the Senate floor that he wants senators to pass the president's agenda before they leave for the holidays on December 10.
However, Manchin told reporters that he is concerned about the package's cost to the US economy. He attributed his problems to the influence of government expenditure on already-high inflation, as well as the uncertainty that the new COVID-19 Omicron variant brings.
Biden's $1.7 social bill needs full Democrats support
According to Bloomberg, Manchin stated, "The unknown is great right now and it gets greater." As the economy recovers from the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic, inflation rates in the United States have soared. Consumer prices rose 6.2 percent year over year in October, reaching a 31-year high.
Manchin made a veiled dig at Biden's earlier assertions that excessive inflation was only a blip on the radar, before moving on to a more serious tone about America's financial woes.
He also bemoaned the impact of inflation on West Virginia gas costs, which he said was a major concern among people he spoke with during Thanksgiving. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell shares his concerns about COVID-19's economic impact.
Powell warned the new COVID-19 variant might hinder the economy and job hiring in prepared remarks to be delivered today at a Senate Banking Committee meeting. Biden's $1.75 trillion bill has no Republican backing, and with a 50-50 split in the Senate, he'll need practically every lawmaker on board to get it passed.
Manchin, one of the moderates responsible for reducing the package's original $3.5 trillion price tag, said on Monday that he's still evaluating the House's watered-down version passed earlier this month. He didn't offer a schedule that he approves of, but he did say that he remains opposed to a provision in the plan that establishes paid family leave for all Americans, as per Daily Mail.