One day after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told a national television audience that he could not support President Biden’s $2 trillion Build Back Better domestic package, all but killing the legislation and angering the White House and fellow Democrats, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted Monday that the Senate would still vote on the bill – and keep voting “until we get something done.”
The announcement from Sen. Manchin (D-WV), made on “Fox News Sunday,” came after months of talks aimed at making the ambitious social and climate action package affordable enough for moderates, most notably Manchin, to get behind and just days after a meeting with President Biden in which Manchin reportedly outlined his own proposed package of similar cost and pledged to continue negotiating in good faith.
The White House was reportedly given very short notice of Manchin’s decision and responded with an uncharacteristically harsh statement. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the West Virginia Senator’s comments Sunday morning were “at offs with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, lashed out at Manchin on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “I hope that we will bring a strong bill to the floor of the Senate as soon as we can and let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests…If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world.”