Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, said Sunday she believes the president’s social welfare spending bill will pass the Senate by Christmas, despite Republican opposition and pushback from Sen. Joe Manchin III, a key Democratic swing vote.
Asked if she were confident the $1.75 trillion bill would be approved before Dec. 25, Ms. Klobuchar replied, “I am,” saying that the West Virginia Democrat who could make or break the bill is still engaged in discussions.
“Sen. Manchin is still at the negotiating table, talking to us every day, talking to us about voting rights, getting that bill done, restoring the Senate,” said Ms. Klobuchar on ABC’s “This Week.” “He is talking to us about this bill.”
She argued that the bill, which passed the House on Nov. 19 along largely party lines, would help address the ongoing supply chain crisis by improving ports and bringing more people into the labor market.
“We’ve got workforce issues, and that’s why this Build Back Better agenda is so important,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Look at it: We need people. We need kids to go into jobs where we have shortages. We don’t have a shortage of sports-marketing degrees, we have a shortage of health care workers. We have a shortage of plumbers, electricians, construction workers. This bill puts us on the right path.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, summed up the GOP position by calling it a “bad, bad, bad bill.”
He said that the bill would end up costing $4.65 trillion if temporary provisions are made permanent, citing a Penn Wharton Budget Model released Nov. 15. The figure refers to a 10-year budget window.
“One third of the expenditures are tax cuts for billionaires. There’s corporate welfare,” Mr. Cassidy said. “It’s going to raise the price of gasoline at least about 20 cents a gallon and it begins to have federal dictates as to how your child’s preschool is handled, the curriculum even.”
Mr. Manchin has said that he wants to see a thorough analysis of the bill’s impact on the economy, the debt, and energy and climate policies before making a decision, frustrating Democratic efforts to move the measure quickly.
The bill would need the support of all 50 Senate Democrats, with the tiebreaker cast by Vice President Kamala Harris, if no Republicans break ranks.