Tonight, when Schumer hosts his weekly Senate leadership meeting, Manchin says he will attend. He is also planning to attend tomorrow's weekly caucus lunch. So, presumably, he's staying in the Democratic Party-- at least for the first half of the week. At tonight's meeting, Manchin will tell Schumer to not go ahead with a vote on Build Back Better-- which would surely lose and just be an election year messaging bill-- because he has agreed to negotiate some more with the White House.
It's less a "negotiation," though, than a passive-aggressive dictation. Axios reported last night that Manchin will allow a further weakened BBB to pass-- presuming someone has Kyrsten Psychotica on board, a presumption I strongly doubt-- if he can force Biden and Schumer to get the Democrats to shit-can the popular plan to extend the expanded child tax credit. How popular? This recent poll shows that it's a winner among likely voters, but that less than a third of Republicans support it.
The "best" case scenario would be to dramatically cut the income eligibility requirements so that only poor people would get it, a sure-fire way to decrease the support for the program among middle class voters. That's how conservatives hope to kill it in the future, unlike the way they have failed to kill universal programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are too broadly popular for the public-- including, for a change, Republicans-- to mess with.
Axios reported that "Manchin and top White House aides traded recriminations after their negotiations fell apart-- but President Biden and the senator subsequently spoke by phone late in the evening of Dec. 19. They agreed to continue to talk, and Manchin stayed in touch with senior White House officials over the holidays. The week before Christmas, reports emerged about how close he and Biden were on a potential deal. The details included a $1.8 trillion offer from Manchin that contained money for universal preschool and green tax credits but nothing for the child tax credit, which provides families up to $3,600 per child per year."
One possible solution to the stalemate would be to remove the CTC from the Build Back Better legislation, which the Senate plans to pass with only Democratic votes.
The chamber could then have a separate, focused debate during a midterm year about making the tax credits permanent.
Some Republicans, like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), are supportive of the CTC, but it’s unclear if Democrats could find all 10 Republicans needed to clear the 60-vote threshold for passing major legislation.
Similarly, Schumer intends to bring the now pretty weak election reform package that Manchin helped write up for a vote this month. It will fail to get the 10 Republicans needed to shut down the filibuster, which will then prompt Schumer to attempt to reform Senate filibuster rules, for which he doesn't need any Republican votes, if Manchin and Psychotica are on board for a simple carve-out to protect democracy. I could see a couple of Republicans-- Murkowski and possibly Collins-- being easier to get on board than the Arizona nutcase.