/Manchin says he will not vote for Build Back Better: This is a no | TheHill – The Hill

Manchin says he will not vote for Build Back Better: This is a no | TheHill – The Hill


Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFilibuster-backers are Framer-wannabes Liberals disappointed after Biden’s first year Sunday shows preview: COVID-19 cases surge amid omicron wave MORE (D-W.Va.) announced on “Fox News Sunday” that he will not vote for President BidenJoe BidenSenate confirms 40 judges during Biden’s first year in office, the most since Reagan SNL removes live audience, loses musical guest for Saturday as omicron spreads Liberals disappointed after Biden’s first year MORE’s “mammoth” climate and social spending bill, essentially killing the White House’s top legislative priority.

“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation, I just can’t. I tried everything humanly possible, I can’t get there” he told guest host Bret Baier. 

“You’re done – this is a no,” Baier said.

“This is a no on this legislation,” Manchin responded. “I have tried everything I know to do,” he said, closing the door on Democratic hopes that he might be persuaded to change his mind.

He said he had worked “diligently” on the bill, meeting with Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerSenate confirms 40 judges during Biden’s first year in office, the most since Reagan Cruz to get Nord Stream 2 vote as part of deal on Biden nominees Senate wraps for the year, punting Build Back Better, voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Tornado aftermath, Medal of Honor and soaring superheroes Pressure builds on Biden ahead of student loan cliff Democrats lack backup plan with expanded child tax credit set to lapse MORE (D-Calif.) and other colleagues to find a way forward, but said he remains extremely concerned about inflation, the $29 trillion federal debt and a surge in new infections caused by the omicron COVID-19 variant. 

“When you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I’ve always said this, Bret, if I can’t go home to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it,” he said. 

Manchin said Biden knew that he had serious concerns about how the 2,000-plus page bill was shaping up.

 

“He knows that I’ve had concerns and the problems I’ve had,” he said. “The thing we should all be directing our attention towards is the variant of COVID we have coming back at us in so many different aspects and different ways. It’s affecting our lives again.”

Manchin also warned that rising inflation could “really harm a lot of Americans,” especially lower-income or impoverished Americans.

“So I think that’s where our attention needs to be directed toward immediately,” he said. 

Manchin’s definitive statement of opposition against the bill comes as a surprise to fellow Senate Democrats who expected that talks between the West Virginia centrist and Biden would continue this week.

Biden in a statement last week said that Manchin had “reiterated his support” for spending $1.75 trillion on the Build Back Better bill, pledging “we will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead.”

But Manchin distanced himself from that optimistic statement at the end of last week, telling reporters it was Biden’s and not his.

The White House has yet to comment Sunday on Manchin’s definitive opposition to the bill.

Manchin said he had a major problem with Democratic colleagues setting early sunsets for popular items such as the enhanced child tax credit to keep the overall cost of the bill at around $2 trillion. He argued that would have masked the true impact of the bill on the deficit and debt.

“Everyone still has the aspirational things they want to do,” he said. “They say, ‘Can we still make this fit? We’ll just cut it down to two years versus 10 years, we’ll cut this one to four years versus 10 years or one year versus 10 years.

“That’s not being genuine as far as I’m concerned with my constituents in West Virginia,” he said.

Manchin noted that a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the bill requested by Senate Republicans showed that Build Back Better would cost more than $4.5 trillion over the next decade if all its provisions are renewed.

He reiterated many of the points he made on Fox in a statement released shortly after his appearance.

“Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation,” he said.

“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,” he added. “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”

Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also said he has a major problem with the climate-related provisions in the bill intended to bolster renewable energy sources and phase out fossil fuels.

“If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains,” he said.

He argued “the energy transition my colleagues seek is already well underway” and noted that Congress has already “invested billions of dollars into clean energy technologies.”

His statement also pointed to growing tensions with China and Russia as another reason not to pass a huge social spending bill.  

“Our ability to quickly and effectively respond to these pending threats would be drastically hindered by our rising debt,” he said, referring to the aggressive posture taken by Russia toward Ukraine and China toward Taiwan and the South China Sea. 

–Joseph Choi contributed to this report, which was updated at 10:40 a.m.

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