GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The United States House and Senate are likely finished for the year. The possibility that the Senate might be called back to deal with the Build Back Better plan, the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, is still alive but with only seven days until Christmas, getting it passed by that deadline Democrats had hoped for seems unlikely.
The plan passed in the House with only Democratic votes. News 8 spoke with Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, who said there is a lot of things about the plan that he takes issue with.
“Well, we can start with the process. So budget reconciliation is inherently a partisan process… It has some restrictions on what you can include,” Meijer said when asked about his objections. “They’ve tried to really assemble — and when I use the term ‘partisan grab bag’ that is quite literally what this is. It is, ‘we’ve thrown everything at the wall we’ll see if it sticks both on the revenue generating side and on the expenditure side.’ So the process itself has been just terrible.”
He said he also has issues with the negotiations.
“It has been negotiated between Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, maybe the progressive caucus, Joe Manchin and President Biden,” Meijer said. “This is not anything that was intended to gain an ounce of Republican support … by design.”
He said he also has an objection to how the funding occurs.
“Over an eight year period, it’s around $200 billion in deficit spending. Over a five year period, it’s $800 billion,” he said. “That’s because there’s a lot of proposals that lasts for a year or three years or five years, but that are paid for over eight.”
He said the expectation is the temporary programs will be made permanent.
“I think it was Milton Friedman that said, ‘there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary government program,'” Meijer said. “You don’t extend the child tax credit for one year and then say, ‘good, we’re done.’ … the intention is that these are all made permanent. Over that eight year horizon, with these programs made permanent, it is over $3 trillion in deficit spending. So the magnitude is extraordinary.”
He said he also has issues with the way it changes parts of the country’s tax structure, and that it doesn’t address “some of the real deficit spending issues we have right now.”
Because the U.S. Senate is equally divided and all Democrats must vote in favor of the reconciliation plan in order to have Vice President Harris cast the deciding vote, Sen. Joe Manchin’s, D-W.Va., objection to parts of the bill mean it cannot pass the upper chamber.
The president and Manchin talked earlier in the week but apparently there is still no deal on the Build Back Better plan.