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Biden's slimmed-down economic package taking shape

Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 21, 2021

Joe Biden is being forced to compromise on his "Build Back Better" agenda.

Originally, President Biden wanted a $3.2 trillion economic and climate package.

But Republicans would not jump on board - and some Democrats said the price tag was too high.

Now, Biden has cut off around 40% of the bill with the new price tag coming in at $1.9 trillion.

Tuition-free community college is out, child care and elderly home care programs are being cut by almost 50% and green energy initiatives are being cut, too.

“A lot of the Democratic caucus had sought fairly large things that would try and steer the economy toward less carbon production, less CO2 in the atmosphere, potentially regulate businesses. Some of that may be coming out,” said Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver.

He says cuts are being driven by one man: Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin, a Democrat, is trying to get re-elected in West Virginia — a state that voted Republican by 30 points in the last Presidential election.

He says he will only support a $1.5 trillion bill. He is also opposed to many green energy programs that would impact his base.

“That’s an area where Joe Manchin has indicated he does not want to see in the bill particularly because so much of the West Virginia economy is dependent on coal,” said Maskin.

Other programs have survived the budgeting process. The Build Back Better bill includes billions of dollars for housing, universal pre-K and paid family leave.

“Parents can’t go to work if they don’t have child care. Workers need paid family medical leave, so we have care infrastructure in this country that is in desperate need of repair,” said Hannah Matthews, who works for the Center for Law and Social Policy.

She says those provisions are a must-have to help solve the worker shortage.

“We still have more than two million women out of work compared to prior to the pandemic and they cannot go back without childcare, they cannot go back without paid family medical leave,” said Matthews, “The worst-case scenario is would be this country as we have done for decades and it’s simply unacceptable,”

Keep in mind how quickly these talks can evolve.

The President is motivated to pass legislation before the end of the year.