Joe Manchin “Does Not Get to Dictate the Future,” Says Cori Bush

Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush blasted Sen. Joe Manchin for threatening to destroy the Build Back Better Bill, a safety net proposal and climate plan that the West Virginia lawmaker has already endorsed. watered downBy removing key provisions and slashing funds for the remaining programs.

“Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country,” Bush said in a statement Monday evening after Manchin — a necessary swing vote in the evenly split U.S. Senate — publicly refused to support the latest iteration of Democrats’ reconciliation package, whose top-line was cut from $3.5 trillionIn an effort to appease a small number of conservatives, the amount reached $1.75 trillion over ten years.

“I do not trust his assessment of what our communities need the most,” the Missouri Democrat continued. “I trust the parents in my district who can’t get to their shift without childcare. I trust the scientists, who have shown us how our future will look if we fail to address the climate crisis. I trust the patients and doctors crying out for comprehensive health coverage for every person in America.”

Manchin insisted Monday that the House approve the Senate’s $550 billion bipartisan Infrastructure package before proceeding with the broader reconciliation bill. The bill has the backing of a strong majority (and the support of the Senate) of Democrats in Congress. party’s voters.

“I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward,” Manchin said of the reconciliation package, “but I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country and the American people.”

In response to Manchin, Bush argued that the bipartisan measure “overwhelmingly” excludes vulnerable communities, echoing the longstanding progressive critique of legislation that the West Virginia Democrat — a fossil fuel industry ally and coal profiteer — helped craft. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have stated for months that they will vote for the bipartisan package if the Build back Better Act is also presented simultaneously.

“We cannot spend the next year saying, ‘The House did its part, and now it’s the Senate’s turn.’ We need the Senate to actually get this done,” Bush, the CPC’s deputy whip, said Monday. “Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-immigrant. When we talk about transformative change, we are talking about a bill that will benefit Black, brown, and Indigenous communities.”

“We cannot leave anyone behind,” she added. “Senator Manchin must support the Build Back Better Act.”

Despite Manchin’s comments on Monday, progressive leaders expressed confidence that the Build Back Better Act remains on track for a vote as lawmakers race to iron out final details, including a prescription drug planIt was dropped from the reconciliation framework that was presented last week.

CPC chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told reporters Monday that her caucus is prepared for a vote on the Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill as soon as this week even if Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — another key Democratic holdout — don’t publicly vow to support the reconciliation package.

“We are going to do our work in the House and let the Senate do its work,” Jayapal said. “But we’re tired of, you know, just continuing to wait for one or two people.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.Minn.), CPC whip told The Intercept’s Ryan Grim Monday that “it’s time to call [Manchin’s] bluff” by pushing the reconciliation measure and the bipartisan bill through the House.

Given that progressives previously insisted that the Senate approve the reconciliation package before a House vote on the bipartisan bill, Omar and Jayapal’s latest comments were viewedAs an indication that the CPC has changed its mind after months of negotiations.

“These bills will pass the House and everyone will get to see if Manchin is willing to vote it down,” Omar said Monday. “It is also time to see if the president [can] get his friend on board and get the votes for his agenda.”