After announcing his opposition to Democrats’ Build Back Better Act, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) explained in an interview on Monday that he never planned on compromising with fellow Democrats to support crucial portions of the bill – and that he preferred instead to essentially axe the bill altogether.
On West Virginia MetroNews’s “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval,” Manchin said that he has “been way far apart philosophically” from fellow Democrats who pushed to lower the price of prescription drugs and provide financial assistance to families via the expanded child tax credit and other potentially transformative proposals.
Manchin claimed that he supported tax reforms, prescription drug proposals, but that it was a personal dispute with White House staff who pushed him to kill legislation that could have been beneficial. reduce povertyIt set the country on a path to finally address the crisis of climate change. Despite his position as a powerful public officer, he refused to reveal why he had killed the bill.
Instead, Manchin pinned the responsibility for the bill’s demise on the White House. “They know the real reason what happened. They won’t tell you and I’m not going to,” he said. “It’s not the president, it’s the staff. And they drove some things and they put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable and they know what it is and that’s it.”
The conservative lawmaker then criticized his fellow Democrats for trying their favor on the bill. He implied that protesters who confronted the lawmaker over his opposition were trying to change him mind for the Democratic Party.
“I knew where they were and I knew what they could and could not do. They just never realized it because they figured, surely to God we can move one person, surely we can badger and beat one person up, surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough,” he said.
“Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period,” he continued, dismissing the fact that some of the protesters he faced are from West Virginia. He has also brushed over polling that has foundA majority of likely voters of his state support the bill, including 90% of West Virginia Democrats.
Manchin suggested that the Senate should dismantle the bill as a way to get around his opposition. work it through committees instead – despite knowing full well that almost none of the bill’s provisions would pass the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
Though Manchin didn’t say much about the contents of the bill during the interview, he did take particular issue with the child tax credit expansion, which has contributed significantly to a sharp reduction in child povertyIt was implemented last year. The lawmaker suggested that people making between $200,000 and $400,000 shouldn’t be receiving the tax credit, ignoring that the income cap for single earnersThe tax credit is $240,000. People earning over $75,000 receive smaller amounts.
Supporters of the Build back Better Act expressed dismay at Manchin’s decision to kill the bill, but also refused to be held responsible for the reasons.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), pointed out Monday that progressives had been saying for months Manchin was not going to support the bill unless Democrats held leverage over him, likely through the bipartisan Infrastructure bill.
“When we suggested this months ago, people were outraged, accused us of insulting people’s character, called us disruptive, etc.” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Capitol Hill is full of folks who convince themselves they’re three steps ahead by rationalizing to themselves why the obvious isn’t true.” She then called on President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to take action on measures that Congress won’t address.
Manchin said during the interview that he reached his “wit’s end” on the bill – but regardless of how fed up Manchin is with negotiations, the public, especially the lower- and middle-income people that the bill would help, are quickly approaching potential crises.
The end to expanded child tax credits will also mean the end to its poverty-reducing benefits. economists warn. In the meantime, student loan payments are set to resume at February 1st. “Working families could lose thousands of $/mo just as prices are rising,” Ocasio-Cortez pointed outFollow us on Twitter.