By Kanishka Singh
U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a leading liberal House Democrat, has asked President Joe Biden to continue focusing on his social spending legislation and urged him to use executive action despite Senator Joe Manchin’s public rejection of the plan.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), wrote that the CPC will soon release a plan for some actions like lowering costs, protecting the health of families, and tackling climate action.
“The Progressive Caucus will continue to work toward legislation for Build Back Better, focused on keeping it as close to the agreed-upon framework as possible”, she wrote in the newspaper.
Manchin, a conservative Democratic senator, rejected the president’s “Build Back Better” plan last Sunday in a move that imperils the legislation.
Manchin’s move prompted investment bank Goldman Sachs to lower its forecasts for U.S. economic growth. Manchin’s rejection of the bill threatened to scuttle hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for measures to fight climate change and meet the Biden administration’s climate goals.
“Taking executive action will also make clear to those who hinder Build Back Better that the White House and Democrats will deliver for Americans”, Jayapal wrote.
Manchin has expressed concerns about a number of proposals in Biden’s signature domestic policy bill, including multiple climate proposals and extending monthly child tax credit payments.
“I think the stakes are too high for this to be, in any way, about any specific individual,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a CBS News interview aired on Sunday, when asked about Manchin. Harris said the White House was not giving up on the legislation.
Manchin’s support is crucial in the Senate chamber where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the chamber would vote on a package in early 2022.
The White House said on Wednesday that conversations with Manchin’s office will continue. Biden said on Tuesday that he and Manchin were “going to get something done” on the legislation.