Capitol Correspondence - 12.21.21

Build Back Better Act Stalls in the Senate

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The fate of the Build Back Better Act, which contains historic funding for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), became increasingly precarious after a series of events unfolded last week. Despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s aspirational plan to move the bill to the floor by Christmas, President Biden issued a statement on Thursday conceding that negotiations over the bill would continue into 2022 following stalled talks between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). Then, on Sunday, Senator Manchin made a television appearance and stated that he would not vote to pass the Build Back Better Act, saying “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”

However, Senator Manchin’s announcement is not the end of the road for the Build Back Better Act. Discussions are ongoing on how the bill could be pared down or further negotiated to a version that could garner support from the 50 Senate Democrats needed to pass the legislation. On Sunday, Majority Leader Schumer issued a Dear Colleague letter vowing not to give up, in which he said, “Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year…. 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.”

We remain hopeful that a version of the Build Back Better Act that includes ANCOR’s legislative priorities can still pass. We will continue to update ANCOR members as the Senate negotiates the bill and moves forward on updated legislation.