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Biden's Merry-Go-Round Meetings For Build Back Better Take Another Spin Today

The Progressives and two true Senate moderates are still bickering over Biden's Build Back Better plan.
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Merry-Go-Round Keeps Spinning

Biden has had dozens of meetings with Progressives separately and in groups and also individually with Senator Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in an attempt to fit a square key into a round hole.

Biden Hosts Another Meeting

Today we have yet another meeting as Biden Hosts Democrats to Try to Narrow Differences on Climate, Benefits

President Biden signaled more urgency to bridge intraparty divides over the size and scope of Democrats’ social-policy and climate legislation, holding a series of meetings at the White House on Tuesday with progressive and moderate Democrats

Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz), a key player in the discussions, on Tuesday morning, according to people familiar with the matter, followed by a pair of separate meetings in the afternoon with moderates and progressives. The president is expected to make more calls to lawmakers on Tuesday.

While White House officials have said they believe they are making progress in the talks, deep disagreements remain. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) opposes a central climate-change-related provision in the package, prompting pushback from progressive lawmakers, who have said the legislation must include measures to make significant reductions in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.

Lawmakers are also debating imposing income caps on eligibility for key parts of Mr. Biden’s proposal, including the expanded child tax credit. They are grappling with concerns from Ms. Sinema, Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and a handful of centrist House Democrats about provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Mr. Manchin, who spoke by phone with Mr. Biden on Monday, has objected to the clean-electricity performance program, which would provide grants to utilities that increase the amount of clean electricity they generate by at least 4% a year, while penalizing utilities that don’t meet that standard. He has argued that utilities shouldn’t receive federal funds for an energy transition they are already making.

Lawmakers are discussing alternative climate measures, including a tax on carbon emissions. But the Democratic proposals are all over the map; some Democrats are discussing polluter fees; others want Mr. Biden to declare a climate emergency and unilaterally establish policies to cut carbon emissions.

“We have to have something that we can get the support of all 50 of us,” said Sen. Tina Smith (D., Minn.), who spoke with White House officials on Monday morning. But she said that she couldn’t support any plan that doesn’t make meaningful reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. Manchin’s objections to a clean-energy performance program are significant because the program has been core to meeting Mr. Biden’s climate goals. Together, the program and tax incentive.

Amusing Merry-Go Round

This has been going on since June. Biden wants to spend $3.5 trillion while Manchin wants to spend no more than $1.5 trillion.

In addition, Manchin objects to Biden's energy proposals without which the Progressives threaten to kill the whole thing.

Biden's Merry-Go-Round Process 

  1. Meet with Manchin
  2. Meet with Sinema
  3. Meet with key Progressives 
  4. Meet with groups of Progressives
  5. Return to step one

It would seem to me that at some point Biden might think of trying something different such as meeting with Manchin and Sinema together.

Biden needs both moderates, not just one of them, and the pair have differences as well. Sinema supports climate change and Manchin doesn't. Both have overall spending concerns.

Regarding spending, Manchin does not approve of gimmicks like duration cuts knowing full well that once programs are in place they never end.

Progressives also understand that once programs are in place they never end. Thus Progressives do approve of duration limits. 

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I fail to see what good staying on the merry-go-round will do.


Biden just might also consider a free-for-all. That is, get groups 1-3 together in a room all at the same time. 

Let the emotions fly.

Best Thing is Nothing

My own preference is they stay on the Merry-Go-Round until the the midterms at which point the Democrats lose the House and Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker.

If the carousel spins that long, the whole thing turns into fairy dust. 

Question of the Day

Q: Why Offer Suggestions Then?
A: Because politicians do not care what I think. Nor do they care what you think. They only care what they think.  

So helpful advice contrary to what I hope happens is meaningless. 

This process has been going on for at least 5 months. Biden should have figured out months ago the current process is not exactly working. But he is not exactly the brightest bulb in the pack.

If by some chance Biden adopts the obvious change, don't blame me. It will be because someone whose opinion actually matters suggested he try a new tact.

Unfortunately, I expect some sort of deal will eventually merge despite the fact AOC and the Progressives still insist they are indeed willing to kill the whole thing.

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