Build Back Better Act Faces Significant Roadblocks

Build Back Better Act Faces Significant Roadblocks

The White House spent part of the holiday recess calling Democratic Senators in an effort to get the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, President Biden’s broad social spending package, back on track after Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) came out against the legislation late last month. Manchin publicly announced his opposition to the $2 trillion legislation on Fox News Sunday and later in a statement saying he could not vote for a bill that would so dramatically reshape American society when the country faces such a ‘staggering debt’ and high inflation.

The BBB Act contains a number of provisions of concern to IWLA, most significantly a dramatic increase in penalties against employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Penalties can be as high as $50,000 per violation. For employers who commit violations that result in “serious economic harm” to an employee, the penalty can double up to $100,000 if the employer was found to have committed a similar violation within a five year period.

The BBB Act needs the support of every Senate Democrat and Independent who caucuses with Democrats in order to secure its passage. Passage is not possible without Manchin’s support since the legislation faces unanimous Republican opposition in the evenly divided Senate. Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) support is also a concern for the White House. She has raised concerns about the BBB Act’s size and scope and has not committed to voting for the package. White House and congressional negotiations for a smaller package that can gain the approval of all Senate Democrats remain ongoing.

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