Scoop: Manchin Returns To Build Back Better Negotiations With Demands

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is open to reengaging on the climate and child care provisions in President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if the White House removes the enhanced child tax credit from the $1.75 trillion package — or dramatically lowers the income caps for eligible families, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The holdback senator’s engagement on specifics indicates negotiations between him and the White House could get back on track, even after Manchin declared he was a “no” on the package on Dec. 19.

  • The senator’s concerns with the size and the scope of the package remain.
  • His belief that it could cost more than $4 trillion over 10 years extends beyond the CTC issue, and he continues to tell colleagues he’s concerned about the inflationary effects of so much government spending, Axios is told.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its next Consumer Price Index on Jan. 12. Last month’s reading put inflation at 6.8% for the year — fueling Manchin’s opposition.

The big picture: Manchin and top White House aides traded recriminations after their negotiations fell apart — but President Biden and the senator subsequently spoke by phone late in the evening of Dec. 19.

  • They agreed to continue to talk, and Manchin stayed in touch with senior White House officials over the holidays.
  • The week before Christmas, reports emerged about how close he and Biden were on a potential deal.
  • The details included a $1.8 trillion offer from Manchin that contained money for universal preschool and green tax credits but nothing for the child tax credit, which provides families up to $3,600 per child per year.
  • Families who make up to $400,000 had been receiving some CTC payments under the program that ended Jan. 1.

Between the lines: One possible solution to the stalemate would be to remove the CTC from the Build Back Better legislation, which the Senate plans to pass with only Democratic votes.

By Hans Nichols for AXIOS
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