Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday night that he thinks President Joe Biden's massive social spending and climate package is "dead forever" after news that the Senate likely wouldn't vote on the Build Back Better legislation before Christmas.
CNN reported earlier in the day that moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Biden are "very far apart'" on the $1.75 trillion bill. Manchin wants the child tax credit cut from the bill because of the cost.
Democrats need every member of their Senate caucus to support the bill for it to pass via reconciliation in an upper chamber divided evenly along party lines.
"The [Congressional Budget Office] and the inflation number last Friday, I think, killed Build Back Better," Graham said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "They were trying to pass a lie. And God Bless Joe Manchin for sticking to his guns."
The CBO released an analysis on Friday estimating that the Build Back Better plan could increase the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade if the proposed programs are made permanent. That same day, the Labor Department reported that prices for U.S. consumers jumped 6.8% in November compared with a year earlier — the highest annual inflation rate since 1982.
"I think Build Back Better is dead forever, and let me tell you why: Because Joe Manchin has said he's not going to vote for a bill that will add to the deficit," Graham said on Fox News. "Well, if you do away with the budget gimmicks, Build Back Better, according to the CBO adds $3 trillion to the deficit.
"[Manchin] doesn’t want to vote for a bill that makes inflation worse — and one thing we haven’t talked about tonight that was mentioned today … the child care provisions in Build Back Better prohibit religious institutions from receiving money. So, if you’ve got a child in a religious institution providing childcare, you will not be eligible for money from the government."
Graham credited the independent CBO for exposing the "lie" of the social spending and climate bill.
"Build Back Better was the signature issue of the radical left," Graham said. "It died in the Senate because the CBO, which I do not control … I laugh when I hear Democrats say it's a fake number, the CBO number … it used to be the gold standard. I haven't hypnotized the CBO.
"[The CBO looks] at the bill as if all of the programs, like the child tax credit, go for 10 years, not one year. The child tax credit over 10 years is $1.6 trillion over 10 years. The bill written in the Senate is a lie. The CBO exposed that lie, and when it comes to deficit spending, it’s $3 trillion to the deficit."
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