Some Democrats on Wednesday are reportedly questioning whether Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) can pass the $1.9 trillion reconciliation package before his self-imposed Christmas deadline.
The package has been delayed for months due to Democrat infighting and pending Senate parliamentarian rulings on radical items in the package.
Further delay of Biden’s so-called Build Back Better (BBB) agenda past Christmas will likely impact the 2022 midterms. The longer the package remains bogged down in Congress, the more tricky it will be for Schumer to corral “yes” votes to pass the measure in a campaign year.
“Chuck Schumer tells us every day that he is continuing to push for a vote on the Build Back Better Act by Christmas, even as some in his own party question that timeline in public and private,” Punchbowl News reported.
“He’s like a broken record,” the publication added.
Democrats’ doubts if Schumer can keep his promise are partly due to outstanding particulars that must be finalized. The Senate is still debating amnesty, Medicare expansion, and state and local tax deductions (SALT).
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has said he is fine with passing the measure next year, said Tuesday he is worried the overall package would exacerbate inflation.
“The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at,” he said. “And we’ve got to make sure we get this right. We just can’t continue to flood the market as we’ve done.”
But Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told Punchbowl the Senate needs to complete the package quickly to avoid delaying the vote into a campaign year.
“Another month, another three months is not going to make things easier,” she said. “The House has stepped up. They’ve done their part. The president has promised we’re going to get this thing through. We have most of the provisions done.”
With the Senate split 50-50, Schumer has little wiggle room to pass the most radical legislative item since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. “There is no room to gamble,” Punchbowl noted. “He must have everything lined up before BBB comes to the floor.”
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø