Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has proposed a dramatically scaled-back version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, one that would eliminate expanded child care provisions, universal pre-kindergarten, national paid family leave and long-term home health care.
Instead, Manchin has proposed that Congress focus on a single social spending program that would be enacted over a 10-year period. The remaining funds that would be generated from tax code changes and prescription drug reform would be earmarked for fighting inflation and reducing the national debt.
We asked two professors and authors of ALM’s Tax Facts with opposing political viewpoints to share their opinions about Manchin’s latest pitch of a scaled-back version of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA).
Below is a summary of the debate that ensued between the two professors.
Byrnes: Sen. Manchin is right to try focusing his colleagues’ attention on a few key programs rather than a broad array of family relief and social spending programs. Expanded child care, universal pre-kindergarten, national paid family leave and long-term home health care are all important initiatives. Of course, so are programs designed to combat the effects of climate change.
The fact is, our government can’t do everything at once, and we shouldn’t enact such a broad array of programs that are likely to get stuck in the federal budget for decades to come regardless of whether they’re effective.
Bloink: Democrats in Congress are in a unique position to get things done — one that we may not see again for years to come. The vast majority of the provisions in President Biden’s social spending package are popular with most Americans.