Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday evening he doesn’t think President Biden’s “Build Back Better” measure will ever become law in its current form.
The roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending bill, which left-leaning Democrats have pushed for months, just doesn’t have enough votes even to pass by a simple majority, Graham suggested during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
That’s because Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat, has continued to oppose the measure because he thinks passing it will worsen inflation.
“I think Build Back Better is dead forever, and let me tell you why: because Joe Manchin has said he’s not going to vote for a bill that will add to the deficit,” Graham said.
“At the end of the day, Joe Manchin has promised the people of West Virginia, ‘I will not vote for a bill that adds to the deficit that’s full of gimmicks,’ so I think [it] is dead forever,” he added.
The expanded child tax credit has been a key focus of the late-stage negotiations within the Democratic Party. The House-passed version of the bill includes a one-year extension for the pandemic-era policy, but Manchin is now floating the idea of extending it for multiple years so the cost of the proposal, which Congress will likely extend in the future, is fully reflected in the legislation.
Graham, during his conversation with Sean Hannity, cited a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which he requested, that analyzed the Build Back Better Act should its provisions be made permanent and found that the legislation would add $3 trillion in deficit spending.
Republicans are hoping that the score will sway Manchin to delay negotiations for the package.
The CBO said, however, that the House-passed version of the bill would add $200 billion to the deficit over the same time period.
Graham, however, declared the Senate’s version of the bill “a lie.”
“The CBO and the inflation number last Friday, I think, kill Build Back Better. They were trying to pass a lie, and God bless Joe Manchin for sticking to his guns,” Graham said.
In September, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised Manchin’s stance and for pushing back against the “crazies” in his party.
Cruz’s comments to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday came as Sinema and Manchin are under pressure to support what was then a $3.5 trillion spending package that runs thousands of pages and has been criticized recently by the West Virginian as too expensive.
“Real quick before you go, Senator, with all of these crises unfolding, whether it’s Afghanistan, China and the threat that it poses, the wide-open border, you’ve got the Biden administration trying to change the conversation,” Bartiromo said.
“They are pushing through this [three] and a half trillion dollar spending package,” she added. “Will they get it through? Will we see all of our taxes go higher as a result of all of this? They want to change the economy fundamentally with this green new economy.”
“Look, you are right. This is the Bernie Sanders budget,” Cruz responded.
“Bernie Sanders is a wide-eyed and admitted Socialist. He says this is the most transformational bill in a generation. He means that…it is trillions in spending. It is trillions in new taxes,” Cruz added.
“It is the Green New Deal, it is — everyone who pays taxes in America will see their taxes go up under this massive proposal. Individual taxes are going up, corporate taxes are going up, small business taxes are going up, capital gains taxes are going up, the death tax is going up, seniors are getting hammered, farmers, ranchers, small businesses; it is disastrous,” the Texas Republican continued.
“Whether it passes or not will depend on 50 Democrats in the Senate. Do they get Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to go along?” he asked.
“I can tell you [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer is putting a world of hurt and pressure on the two of them. I hope they stand their ground, that they have demonstrated some real courage so far, standing up to the crazies in their party,” he said.
“But you put your finger on what the White House is trying to do,” Cruz noted further. “They want to change the topic from Afghanistan.