Just before the new year, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) voiced his opposition to the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act. In a longer statement , Senator Manchin explained that his long-standing concerns with the package, “have only increased as the pandemic surges on, inflation rises, and geopolitical uncertainty increases around the world.” In a “Dear Colleague” letter to his caucus, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) stated that the Senate would still consider the package “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 added that the chamber will keep voting on revised versions “until we get something done.”  

Since returning to session this week, Majority Leader Schumer has been focused on rallying support for a potential vote in the Senate to alter the “filibuster rule”, which would open the door for any legislation to pass the chamber by a simple majority vote rather than the current 60-vote threshold. Schumer has stated his intent to force a vote on this change by January17th if Republicans block a separate voting rights bill. Such a Senate rule change would also enable Democrats an easier vote on the $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act along with a host of other items.