Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
November 2, 2021

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) raised new doubts on Monday about an emerging compromise on the $1.85 trillion climate change and social safety net bill, warning that he had serious reservations about the plan and criticizing liberals in his party for what he called an “all or nothing” stance on it.  Senator Manchin found fault not only with the overall price tag, but the way the bill is structured, and the phasing out of some policies over time and abruptly ending most of the programs — some of them after a single year — in hopes of showing that over 10 years, the plan would not raise the deficit.  Further, Senator Manchin wants a Congressional Budget Office analysis on the impact and the costs of the bill and still doesn’t support including Medicare expansion or paid leave in the bill.  Democrats have shaped much of the estimated $1.85 trillion bill, pared back from the $3.5 trillion outline the party had earlier envisioned, to win the support of Mr. Manchin.  The White House framework lays out funding details for a universal prekindergarten program, expanded healthcare coverage, childcare subsidies and a series of tax credits for reducing carbon emissions, among other provisions, but still needs to be finalized into final legislative text.

Immigration still remains another top issue Democrats hope to address in the package. Many of the party’s past efforts to address immigration in the legislation have run into the strict rules regulating legislation passed through reconciliation.  Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), the Number two Senate Democrat, said that Democrats would as soon as Tuesday attempt to persuade the Senate parliamentarian to allow their package to include temporary protections for millions of people who have lived in the U.S. illegally.  The proposal would allow immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since 2011 to be shielded from deportation for five years and to receive five-year work authorizations, which could be renewed for another five years. The proposal falls short of providing a pathway to citizenship.  Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has already rejected two immigration-related proposals from Senate Democrats. The parliamentarian ruled that Democrats’ initial plan to make about eight million immigrants eligible for green cards, including the young immigrants known as Dreamers, was out of bounds under reconciliation.

On the House side of the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told House Democrats at their caucus meeting this morning they could resolve their remaining differences on the social spending bill today, and that the Rules Committee will be able to mark up legislative text of Build Back Better as early as Wednesday and said they’d vote “before we leave.”  Both the House and Senate have a scheduled recess next week.  While House Democratic leadership continues to push for a vote this week, Senate leadership has indicated they hope to have both packages passed by the Thanksgiving break.

For today, the Senate will consider the nominations of Jonathan Davidson to be Deputy Under Secretary of Treasury, Benjamin Harris to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Isobel Coleman to be a Deputy Administrator of the USAID, Jeffrey M. Prieto to be an Assistant Administrator of EPA and Rajesh D. Nayak to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor.

The house will consider up to twelve bills under suspension of the Rules.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.