Building back BBB

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

As Democrats try to put together their BBB humpty dumpty after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pushed it off the wall last year, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is holding out hope that the party’s legislative agenda will find a way past the finish line — and doesn’t want to dilly dally in making it happen. Speaking with POLITICO Playbook’s Rachael Bade on Tuesday, Hoyer said the package “will be changed, but that’s part of the legislative process.”

Hoyer appeared frosty to the idea of having a yes-no vote on the House version in the Senate — a plan that has been floated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to get Manchin’s and Republicans’ opposition to the package on the record. The Maryland Democrat preferred focusing on working a bill that’s palatable across the party now and addressing anything else in future legislation.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), one of the principal architects of the Clean Electricity Performance Program thwarted by Manchin’s opposition, echoed a similar sentiment at a Clean Energy for America event Tuesday, advocating for figuring “out what has 50 votes,” with a focus on the clean energy tax credits that form the bulk of the climate provisions in the package. As for the CEPP, “I’m not going to be trying to push that over the finish line in 2022. I think the handwriting is on the wall in terms of where we are, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make big headway,” she said.

But despite support among scientists and activists, Democrats aren’t doing too hot selling the climate provisions to everyday Americans. Less than 40 percent of respondents to a POLITICO/Harvard poll felt the climate portions of BBB would make progress — a figure far below respondents’ support for other social spending portions of the package including universal pre-K and paid parental leave. That’s in contrast to the situation in Washington where the climate portions appear to have the highest potential for agreement across the party.