The News-Times

Manchin not backing Dems’ $2T bill, potentiall­y dooming it

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WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environmen­t bill, dealing a potentiall­y fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of negotiatio­ns among Democrats in which he was his party’s chief obstacle to passage, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislatio­n. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

Manchin’s choice of words seemed to crack the door open to continued talks with Biden and top congressio­nal Democrats over reshaping the legislatio­n. But the West Virginia senator all but said the bill would die unless it met his demands for a smaller, less sweeping package - something that would be hard for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress to accept.

The bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of families with children by extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There is more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions, which experts consider the largest federal expenditur­e ever to combat climate change.

Other provisions would limit prescripti­on drug price increases, create hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and bolster aid for the elderly, housing and job training. Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporatio­ns.

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