Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered another blow to President Joe Biden's agenda Sunday, drawing a fiscal line that would significantly undermine one of Biden's signature family-related policy proposals.
What are the details?
Manchin told the White House that Biden's child tax credit proposal must include a "firm work requirement and family income cap in the $60,000 range," Axios reported, which would "would dramatically weaken" Biden's plan.
Conversely, Manchin's proposal would save taxpayer money in the bloated $3.5 trillion spending package. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have withheld support from the bill over the eye-popping price tag.
As Axios noted, progressive lawmakers — who want more social welfare spending, not less — will likely oppose Manchin's idea. In its current form, Biden's child tax credit plan would cost an estimated $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
Additionally, Manchin's demand would further complicate existing law. The Hill explained:
The senator's demands would also bring significant changes to the child tax credit after the president signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in March that funded the program for one year. The program will now give most families up to $3,600 a year instead of $2,000 annually, and directly deposit the payments into bank accounts.
On the bright side for Biden, sources told Axios that Manchin is open to supporting Biden's plan to subsidize child day care and fund universal preschool. That proposal has an estimated price tag of $450 billion.
What has Manchin said?
Manchin has said his primary concern regarding family-related social spending is implementing work requirements and means testing.
In fact, during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" last month, Manchin said he supports child tax credits, but wants to "make sure that we're getting it to the right people."
"There's no work requirements whatsoever. There's no education requirements whatsoever for better skill sets," Manchin explained. "Don't you think, if we're going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?"
Meanwhile, Manchin has said the Clean Electricity Performance Program — a key progressive climate proposal — is a non-starter, as is any bill that excludes the Hyde Amendment. Manchin told National Review a bill without the Hyde Amendment is "dead on arrival."
Unfortunately for Democrats, Manchin wields an unusual amount of negotiating power. Because of the Senate's 50-50 split, Democrats need Manchin's support if Biden's spending program should become reality. Without it, Biden's domestic agenda will continue to sink.