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The Editors

How Biden Can Rescue Build Back Better

Democrats’ $2 trillion spending plan is in jeopardy. With clearer priorities and honest accounting, it can still succeed.

Try making some choices.

Try making some choices.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tempers flared this week over “Build Back Better,” the Democrats’ stalled tax-and-spending plan, as talks between West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and President Joe Biden appeared to break down. After Manchin told Fox News that, despite numerous revisions intended to accommodate him, he still couldn’t support the measure, the White House said Manchin had reversed himself and insinuated that he wasn’t to be trusted. Now negotiations seem to have resumed, albeit with an added dose of acrimony.

Manchin’s support is indispensable in a 50-50 Senate with Republicans united against the legislation. Anyone who has run a business knows that calling someone a liar isn’t a productive tactic during a difficult negotiation. (Experienced politicians should know that, too.) Yet despite this glitch, agreement remains feasible — and the right kind of package could, even now, be a big win for the administration.