Biden Makes Last-Ditch Effort to Get Manchin on Board to Pass Spending Bill Before Christmas

President Joe Biden continues to make a last-ditch effort to get Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to vote for the administration's social spending and climate bill before the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Biden and Manchin spoke on the phone Monday afternoon for the second time in a week regarding the various aspects of the president's bill.

"The president looks forward to speaking directly with Senator Manchin about and making the case for why the president feels this legislation should move forward," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters before the call.

Manchin is seen as a crucial vote if the bill has any hope of passing before the Senate's self-imposed Christmas deadline.

"We have basically 49 of us in agreement to move forward. So we have one colleague we're continuing to work with, and he's been successful at making a number of changes," Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said of Manchin. "And so hopefully he'll be joining us."

After Manchin spoke on the phone with the president, he told gathered media that he had had "a nice conversation" with Biden, adding that they were both "engaged" about getting the bill passed as soon as possible.

He added that the pair were "just talking," and when asked if the bill could pass before the end of the year, Manchin replied that "anything is possible."

"We've got to find the highest priorities we have, make decisions and move from there," Manchin continued. "I'm happy to talk to anybody and everybody. I've been very open."

Manchin's office also released a statement saying that Biden would be in continual communication with the senator over the coming days.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) spoke Monday on ways to get the president's social spending and climate bill passed before the Senate's self-imposed Christmas deadline in two weeks. Here, Biden can be seen in the Oval Office on Monday. Nicholas Kamm/Getty

Despite pressure by the Democrats and the president to go through with a vote, Manchin continues to be a holdout, proving a thorn in the side of liberals who are looking to quickly get the legislation to Biden's desk. While it did pass in the House last month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has admitted that the bill would likely need to see a number of changes before the Senate would come to an agreement.

One of the biggest issues is the expanded child tax credit that represents a key part of the bill's agenda. The current tax credit expires at the end of the year, but passage of the social spending bill would extend this credit through 2022.

However, Manchin continues to express concerns over the cost of the bill, and has described the current price tag as unreasonable.

"Whatever we're considering doing, or whatever Congress is considering doing, they should do it within the limits of what we can afford," Manchin said.

Republicans have pointed to the estimate of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which stated that passage of the social spending bill would add an approximately $3 trillion to the deficit over a decade.

Many in the GOP have tried to use this figure to sway Manchin against voting for the legislation. However, Democrats have argued that their party has pledged to pay for any programs that end up being extended by the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the CBO's estimate "fake" and added that Senate committees "have been submitting their final text to the parliamentarian, the congressional budget office and to our Republican counterparts."

"The work is not yet finished, but we're working hard to put the Senate in a position to get the legislation across the finish line before Christmas," he added.

It was also noted that the current bill would likely significantly help the current inflation crisis across the U.S., something that Manchin has touted as another one of his main concerns.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.