Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on Monday that Democrats will prioritize the social safety net bill known as the Build Back Better Act in the new year. This statement comes after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) announced on Sunday that he will not support the bill, in a death blow to hopes of passing the act in its current form.

The bill is fundamental to President Joe Biden‘s agenda and proposes sweeping progressive reforms across issues from public housing to climate change. Without Manchin’s support, the bill cannot pass in the divided Senate. Democrats had hoped to pass the bill in 2021. However, Manchin’s rejection of the bill has rendered this goal impossible.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday, Schumer vowed that the Senate will “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.”

He said that the Senate will examine a revised version of the bill and will “keep voting on it until we get something done.” He added that “Neither that delay, nor other recent pronouncements, will deter us from continuing to try to find a way forward.”


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Manchin, a centrist, announced his decision to withhold support from the Build Back Better Act after months of discussions. He placed pressure to revise the bill, largely over budget concerns, but even after these negotiations, he decided that the changes were insufficient to earn his support.

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Manchin said on Fox News Sunday.

Despite this setback, Schumer emphasized in his letter that Manchin’s refusal does not mean an end to the Build Back Better Act.

“We simply cannot give up,” said Schumer. “We must and we will keep fighting to deliver for working families.”

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