Biden officially acknowledges Build Back Better will miss deadline but says he's 'determined' to see bill on Senate floor 'as early as possible'
By Phil Mattingly, CNN
(CNN) -- President Joe Biden, in a lengthy statement, implicitly acknowledged ongoing negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin and procedural steps will cause Democrats to miss the Christmas deadline for Senate passage of his $1.75 trillion economic and climate package, noting that Democrats will continue to work together "over the days and weeks ahead" to get the proposal to the Senate floor.
"My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week," Biden said in the statement. "It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote. We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead; Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible."
Biden reiterated, however, that he still believes the bill will pass -- and more importantly, that Manchin has indicated in their recent discussions that he supports the general outlines of the proposal.
"Senator Manchin has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September," Biden said. "I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition."
Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have been pushing to pass the sweeping spending bill by Christmas. But the party is facing some obstacles from Manchin, whose support of the legislation is key to its passage.
CNN reported Wednesday that critical talks between Biden and Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia and the Senate's most important swing vote, over how to pass the package remained far from any resolution on a series of issues, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions.
A source briefed on the conversations told CNN that talks between the two over the bill were "very far apart." Given the state of the talks, sources familiar with the matter said Schumer was very likely to punt the bill into 2022.
CNN also reported earlier this week that Democrats hadn't finished the legislative text, are still in a series of meetings with the Senate parliamentarian over whether the bill complies with Senate rules and are still negotiating elements of their own bill, with stiff disagreements brewing in their ranks over how to handle key provisions.
One of the most pivotal issues holding up progress is the child tax credit, a major Democratic Party priority that delivers aid to families and is key to the Biden administration's effort to reduce child poverty. Manchin wants to cut the expanded child tax credit from the bill, with a source telling CNN that he wants to "zero it out."
After getting an earful from Democrats on the Senate floor on Thursday, Manchin told CNN he is not feeling any pressure from his colleagues over his stance on the child tax credit.
"No one pressures me," he said. "I'm from West Virginia."
Manchin has told Biden that the one-year tax credit doesn't reflect the true costs of the bill since the benefit will likely be continually extended. If Democrats want to include it in the bill, he's suggested it should be a 10-year extension, though that would blow up the cost of plan, which Manchin wants to keep at $1.75 trillion.
This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.
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