The Senate will hold a vote early next year on the Build Back Better Act, and will “keep voting on it until we get something done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said early Monday, despite Sen. Joe Manchin’s announcement that he can’t support the legislation that would fund President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television,” the New York Democrat said in a letter to colleagues, which was posted on Twitter early Monday by CNN’s Phil Mattingly. “We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”
The legislation, which would contain funding for overhauls on the nation’s education, healthcare, climate change, and immigration, will not pass the evenly divided Senate without Manchin’s vote.
The West Virginia Democrat on Sunday told Fox News that he “cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”
The White House strongly criticized Manchin for his comments, with press secretary Jen Psaki accusing him in a statement of making a “sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position” if he has decided to end the negotiations.
Schumer Monday said that ongoing negotiations have put a hold on the vote that he’d expected to take place before this weekend’s Christmas holiday, and that a special caucus will be held Tuesday night to discuss the spending bill and other issues.
“We simply cannot give up,” said Schumer. “We must and we will keep fighting to deliver for working families.”
The majority leader also insisted that senators will discuss voting rights legislation when Congress resumes in January and that if Republicans “continue to abuse the filibuster and prevent the body from considering this bill, the Senate will then consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation.”
The Republicans used the filibuster, he wrote, to defend “voter suppression and election nullification laws passed by so many Republican state legislatures on party lines with simple majorities.”
Schumer also pointed out that lawmakers for years have spoken out about the Senate’s deadlock, something which the American people also “decry.”
“I believe our constituents deserve to know which senators chose to hide behind ill-conceived and abused rules and which senators wish to preserve floor procedures to better align with the founders’ intentions,” he wrote.