In this traditional moment of year-end reflection, Democrats of every stripe have a lot of thinking to do and a big decision to make. They can begin the new year by delivering progress for working families, the environment and democracy itself, or they can watch their party implode.

A week has passed since Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) delivered what appeared to be his Big No to President Biden’s Build Back Better plan — which, to be more precise, was his no on “this piece of legislation.”

There is an enormous difference between rejecting a deal altogether and pushing aside the program’s current legislative iteration. That’s also a source of guarded hope.

Manchin’s sharp rebuke surprised many Democrats, including Biden, because throughout negotiations the West Virginia senator had said yes to a variety of programs and to various ways of paying for them. This is why the White House quickly shelved its anger toward Manchin and returned to insisting that there is common ground to be found.

“Based on everything we know about the initiatives Sen. Manchin supports and the revenue he sees as necessary to pay for them, we believe it is possible to reach a deal with him,” an administration official told me. “We believe we can meet his tests.”

Such a deal might be summarized as “climate and kids” or “climate, health and family,” which would be straightforward ways of selling what Biden is trying to do. It would build on Manchin’s last offer, which included universal prekindergarten, an expansion of Obamacare and hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.

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Those who talked to Manchin during the negotiations also cite his expressions of sympathy for subsidized child care, home health care and containing prescription drug costs — including a ceiling on the price of insulin.

“He told me that he was for child care,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in an interview. “He actually really believes that we should take care of our seniors and have … in-home care for them.”

Putting together a deal thus depends not only on progressive Democrats agreeing to a somewhat smaller package than they had in mind before Manchin’s Fox News moment — something most of them are prepared to do — but also on Manchin’s willingness to reembrace positions he had taken over the course of this year.

The biggest obstacle is Manchin’s apparent opposition to extending the expanded child tax credit, one of the most successful programs Biden initiated in the economic rescue plan enacted in March. The measure, which the Urban Institute estimates could cut child poverty by as much as 40 percent, will expire this year unless it’s renewed.

Maintaining it is a bottom-line demand of an important group of Democratic senators — Michael F. Bennet of Colorado, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — as well as Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

“The last thing we should be doing right now is raising taxes on working people,” Bennet told me in an email, stressing that “61 million children are benefitting from the expanded child tax credit.”

Manchin, negotiators say, had at one point agreed to a one-year extension. Supporters of the credit hope he can be nudged back to that position or at the very least to a compromise that keeps benefits flowing to the poorest Americans.

But even before the Senate votes on Build Back Better, Democrats will face their single most important decision: whether to alter filibuster rules to allow passage of two pro-democracy bills — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — aimed at pushing back against voter suppression and election subversion in Republican-led states.

Here, the news is promising. Even in the Fox News interview, Manchin did not rule out filibuster reforms, and he has been working closely with colleagues on possible alterations to allow voting-related bills to pass without Republican support. Biden stepped up his efforts on their behalf in an interview last week with David Muir of ABC News. The president said flatly that he supported doing “whatever it takes” to pass the democracy bills, including “making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster.”

Democrats have a narrow window to get a lot done. They face a nearly unified Republican opposition. They have the slimmest of majorities. And at moments last week, it looked as though they were eager to spend the next year trashing each other.

They can’t afford the luxury of recriminations.

“We can’t give up,” said Jayapal, who has kept open lines to Manchin. “It is urgent. Families are suffering.”

If Congress fails to deliver, she added, “it’s going to be very hard for all the people who are up for election around the country to be able to say to people, ‘Look, I made your life appreciably better.’ ”

That’s still the job description.