Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) declared Sunday that he had concluded that he cannot support the huge social spending bill, the Build Back Better Act, after months of negotiations. Manchin, speaking with Fox News Sunday, said he had spoken with President Biden and Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), but couldn’t reach an agreement on legislation.
Manchin stated, “I’ve done all humanly possible” and spoke about the hard work he put in to find a compromise on the bill. He said, in the end, that the bill being promoted by his fellow Democrats was too burdensome because of ongoing inflation, the national deficit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manchin said that “when you have these things coming to you the way there right now… I can’t vote to continue with this piece of legislation.” He added that if he couldn’t explain to his constituents why it was he would vote in favor of a bill, then he could not vote for it, despite all of the hard work he and the other Democrats put into making it work. He said, “This is not a yes.” “I’ve tried everything I know.”
Manchin admitted that there were parts of the bill that he supported, but it was too heavy for him to vote for.
Manchin stated, “There is a lot good in that bill, but that bill was a mammoth piece,” pointing out that the bill is not being voted upon like a regular bill but being passed through budget reconciliation.
Senator from West Virginia said that Congress should not try to pass a large spending bill. Instead, Congress should focus on the omicron version of COVID-19 which has resulted in rising case numbers. He said that the government should address inflation, which has “harmed many Americans.” He stated that inflation is real and won’t go away anytime soon.
Manchin had proposed previously a $1.7 trillion price tag to the spending package. However, he stated that his Democratic colleagues failed to make the necessary compromises. He noted that President Biden and he tried to make it work. He stated, “We need to get our financial house in order. But be able to afford what we do and what we spend for.”