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Biden sounds like he’s ready to sign whatever Manchin and Sinema decide on the social-spending bill

Even if Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema cut paid leave from his spending package, Biden told reporters on Friday: "I'm going to sign it, period!" ...
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona following a vote at the US Capitol on November 3, 2021.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona following a vote at the US Capitol on November 3, 2021.

  • Biden told a reporter he will sign Democrats' social-spending bill, even if it excludes paid leave.
  • The bill passed the House on Friday, and it heads to the Senate where it faces likely challenges.
  • Manchin and Sinema have voiced opposition to measures in the House version, like tax hikes and paid leave.

President Joe Biden's economic agenda cleared a potentially major hurdle Friday morning when his $2 trillion social-spending package passed the House.

And although it now heads to the Senate, where it will likely face additional cuts due to opposition from centrist Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the president seems ready to take whatever the evenly-split Senate produces and sign it into law.

"I'm going to sign it, period!" Biden told Nancy Cordes of CBS News when asked if he would still sign a bill without paid family and medical leave.

All 50 Senate Democrats must stick together for the plan to clear the chamber over unified GOP resistance. Manchin and Sinema both haven't explicitly backed Biden's social spending bill, and objections from either could either stall or sink the centerpiece of the Democratic agenda.

Four weeks of paid national family and medical leave, along with a $555 billion investment in the climate, made it into the Build Back Better framework that passed through the House. But as Insider reported, the framework is likely to change once it reaches the Senate — especially when on issues like paid leave, to which Manchin has repeatedly voiced opposition.

"I've been very clear where I stand on that," Manchin told reporters on Wednesday, referring to his comments last month that he didn't think the measure belonged in a party-line package, and he has also indicated he wants workers to assume part of the cost to access the benefits with a new tax on their wages.

Along with Manchin's opposition to paid leave and the overall size of the package, Sinema — the other Democratic holdout — has balked at raising tax rates on high-earning individuals and corporations.

While Manchin and Sinema may try to cut elements from the House package, though, other Democrats want to see it grow even more. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement on Monday that while he is glad the House passed a key element of Biden's agenda, he still wants to see it "strengthened" through lower prescription drug prices and a Medicare expansion that would cover vision, dental, and hearing aids.

The House legislation only includes an expansion of Medicare to provide hearing benefits.

Biden indicated on Friday he wants to get the bill signed into law "as soon as possible," and it seems likely the final version of the bill rests in the hands of Sinema and Manchin.

"Senator Manchin: We're looking at you," Missouri Rep. Cori Bush wrote on Twitter. "The people must win."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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