Regardless of what people say nothing will be done in a midterm election year, important laws can be passed. Ultimately, the Democrats defied popular belief by passing the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, just months before losing the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, after months of agitae. But it’s hard to see how it gets easier to pass Build Back Better Act in the next year, especially if the unanswered questions that are currently causing all internal party tensions persist. “Another month, another three months won’t make it any easier. It is time we finalized our final deals, ”Senator Elizabeth Warren told reporters in early December.
The passage of the Build Back Better Act had a particular urgency that not only brought the president a legislative victory: It includes a one-year extension of the extended child tax deduction. If Congress does not pass the bill by December 28, the Treasury Department will be unable to make monthly payments to families on January 15, and millions of children who recently received the full loan would lose it. (The $ 1.9 trillion expanded credit, introduced by the American Rescue Plan Act in March, allowed parents who were too poor to collect income taxes to receive the full credit. That provision would Expiring in late December, along with the larger amount and the practice of lending in monthly installments.)
However, Manchin remains opposed to the expansion of the expanded child tax credit, which other Democrats see as a core part of the Build Back Better Act and one of their key legislative achievements. Whether agreement can be reached on this provision remains to be seen, given that Manchin and other Democrats remain at odds on this issue.
The Build Back Better Act also included an issue of particular concern to the State of Manchin: a four-year extension of a critical consumption tax that funds a program that benefits skilled coal miners disabled with black lung disease. Without the passage of the Build Back Better Act and the extension it contains, the tax will be more than halved – which threatens the future of the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which is already facing bankruptcy. “If we don’t pass the Build Back Better Act with a four year extension, I don’t see what will happen to the fund from here, ”said Gary Hairston, president of the National Black Lung Association and former black lung disease miner in Fayette County, West Virginia, in a statement. (Manchin has put in a 10-year extension of the tax, but its fate in Congress is as uncertain as that of the Build Back Better Act, if not more, as it still has no support in the House of Representatives.)