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West Virginia “Democratic” Senator Joe Manchin announced on Fox News over the weekend that he would not vote for the Build Back Better bill. The legislation would have provided millions of working-class Americans with access to quality jobs, education, family care and more.
“I’ve done everything humanly possible,” the Senator said, even as he reportedly refused a call from the White House.
Manchin was one of the lone Democratic holdouts on the bill. He had almost singlehandedly forced the price tag down from $6 trillion to $1.75 trillion over ten years. Recently, he abruptly stated he would not vote for anything higher than $1.5 trillion over ten years.
For context, Manchin’s hesitation over $25 billion in annual spending comes just weeks after he voted to increase defense spending by more than $200 billion in a single year.
With Manchin’s surprise announcement, the key tenant of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda may be dead.
The Build Back Better plan is still seen as a “transformative” piece of legislation. If passed, the bill would have expanded universal Pre-K, improved pay for home care providers, and more. It would have also allotted the most funding in the nation’s history to actively combat climate change.
Democrats erupt in anger over Joe Manchin’s ‘breach of trust’
Reaction to Manchin’s abrupt flip to a no-vote has been swift–and progressives aren’t holding back their anger.
In an interview with Ari Velchi over the weekend, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was quick to call out Manchin.
“We all knew that Senator Manchin couldn’t be trusted,” Ilhan Omar told MSBNC News Sunday evening. “The excuses that he gave, I think, are complete bullsh*t.”
St. Louis representative Cori Bush wrote on Twitter that she was “frustrated with every Democrat who agreed to tie the fate of our most vulnerable communities to the corporatist ego of one Senator.”
“No one should have backed out of our initial strategy that would have kept Build Back Better alive,” she wrote.
Manchin’s Senate colleagues also took him to task on the national TV circuit. In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) expressed frustration that Manchin didn’t “have the guts” to stand up for working families.
Sanders said he hopes Democrats will bring a “strong bill to the Senate floor” quickly, regardless of Manchin’s support.
“Let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests,” Sanders said.
White House officials also roundly condemned Manchin’s actions as a ‘breach of trust’. In a statement over the weekend, press secretary Jen Psaki called Manchin’s reversal “sudden and inexplicable”.
According to reports from Politico, “Manchin didn’t have the courage to call the White House or Democratic leadership himself” before appearing on Fox News. The Senator instead had a staffer inform them shortly before he went on air.