Sunday, December 19, 2021

Bombshell: Senator Joe Manchin Won't Vote for 'Build Back Better' (VIDEO)

He made the announcement on Fox News this morning, of all places.

At the New York Times, "Manchin Pulls Support From Biden’s Social Policy Bill, Imperiling Its Passage":

WASHINGTON — Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, said on Sunday that he could not support President Biden’s signature $2.2 trillion social safety net, climate and tax bill, dooming his party’s drive to pass its marquee domestic policy legislation as written.

The comments from Mr. Manchin, a longtime centrist holdout, dealt the latest and perhaps a fatal blow to the centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda, barely a day after senators left Washington for the year after Democrats conceded they could not yet push through any of their top legislative priorities, from the social policy bill to a voting rights overhaul.

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Mr. Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday,” citing concerns about adding to the national debt, rising inflation and the spread of the latest coronavirus variant. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”

In a statement released shortly afterward, he was scathing toward his own party, declaring that “my Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face.”

“I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful,” he said.

It amounted to Mr. Manchin’s most definitive rejection of the sprawling measure, which party leaders muscled through the House in November, after maintaining a drumbeat of concern about its cost and ambitious scope. With Republicans united in opposing the legislation, Democrats needed the votes of all 50 senators who caucus with their party for the measure to pass an evenly divided Senate, effectively handing each of them veto power.

Mr. Manchin’s comments provoked an unusually blistering broadside from Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, who accused Mr. Manchin in a lengthy statement of reneging on his promises. As recently as Tuesday, Ms. Psaki said, Mr. Manchin had pledged to work with administration officials to finalize a compromise agreement and had even shared his own outline for legislation that mirrored the size of Mr. Biden’s initial $1.85 trillion framework.

“If his comments on Fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort,” she said, “they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the president and the senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.”

Mr. Manchin outlined what he would support in a July 28 memo signed with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, which became public in late September. As of Sunday, it remained unclear whether an overhaul of the legislation could both salvage Mr. Manchin’s support and retain enough liberal votes in both chambers.

The impasse jeopardizes Mr. Biden’s reputation as a dealmaker — he had campaigned on his ability to capitalize on nearly four decades of Senate experience to helm negotiations and unite his party’s narrow majorities in both chambers. Mr. Biden had poured weeks of work into talks with Mr. Manchin, inviting the senator for breakfast at his Delaware home in October and insisting that the West Virginian could ultimately be swayed.

At stake is what Mr. Biden has hailed as transformative, New Deal-style legislation that would touch virtually every American life from birth to death, from subsidies for child care to price controls for prescription drugs to funding for the construction and maintenance of public housing.

Failure to pass the measure also would deal a setback to vulnerable Democratic lawmakers bracing for what is expected to be a challenging midterm campaign in the coming months. They had hoped that passage of the bill would help their political standing, given that Republicans are widely expected to reclaim control of the House...

Still more.