Joe Manchin says no to $2T bill: ‘I can’t vote for it’
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., walks to a caucus lunch at the Capitol in Washington. Image via AP.

manchin
The bill carries huge investments for helping millions of families with children.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, seemingly dealing a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he always has made clear he had reservations about the bill and that now, after five-and-half months of discussions and negotiations, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”

The White House had no immediate comment. Biden was spending the weekend in Wilmington, Delaware.

The legislation’s apparent collapse is sure to deepen the bitter ideological divisions within the Democratic Party between progressives and moderates. That would call into question whether Democrats will be able to join together behind any substantial legislation before the November congressional elections. And it adds a note of chaos just as Democrats need to demonstrate accomplishments and show a united front before the fall campaign.

The bill carries huge investments for helping millions of families with children, including extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There’s assistance to help people pay health care costs, new hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and provisions limiting price increases on prescription drugs.

Also included are funds for caring for the elderly, housing, job training and more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing climate change. Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.

Manchin’s opposition puts it all on hold indefinitely. The West Virginia senator cited several factors weighing on the economy and the potential harm he saw from pushing through the “mammoth” bill, such as persistent inflation, a growing debt and the latest threat from the omicron variant.

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

“I tried everything humanly possible. I can’t do it,” he said. “This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do.”

Though Manchin has been Democrats’ main obstacle all year to pushing the massive package through the narrowly divided Congress, his declaration was a stunning repudiation of Biden’s and his party’s top goal. A rejection of the legislation had been seen by many as unthinkable because of the political damage it could inflict on Democrats.

Sen Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, criticized Manchin for withdrawing his support and urged Democratic leaders to bring the bill to the floor anyway and force Manchin to oppose it.

“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, “ Sanders told CNN’s ”State of the Union.”

It is rare for a member of a president’s own party to administer a fatal blow to their paramount legislative initiative. Manchin’s decision called to mind the famous thumbs-down vote by Sen. John McCain that killed President Donald Trump’s 2017 effort to repeal the health care law enacted under President Barack Obama.

“Infuriated,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, among the progressives fighting for a more robust Biden bill.

“We’ve had concerns about trusting Joe Manchin throughout the year,” Bowman said by telephone on Sunday. “Manchin is the one that is killing Biden’s agenda.

Last week, Biden all but acknowledged that negotiations over his sweeping domestic policy package would likely push into the new year. But the president had insisted that Manchin reiterated his support for a framework that the senator, the White House and other Democrats had agreed to for the flagship bill.

On Sunday, Manchin made clear those were Biden’s words, not his own. The senator criticized fellow lawmakers for a bill that “hasn’t shrunk” after he initially agreed to a $1.5 trillion framework and said social programs must be paid for over 10 years instead of just a few years to win his support, a nonstarter due to cost.

For instance, just extending the child tax credit program for the full 10-year budget window would cost well over $1 trillion. That would consume most of Biden’s bill, crowding out other key initiatives on health care, child care, education and more.

“We should be up front and pick our priorities,” Manchin said.

Democrats largely dismiss Manchin’s assertions that the bill would fuel inflation and worsen budget deficits. Democrats say it would put money in peoples’ pockets to help them afford rising prices, and that strengthening child care, education and job training would help people get back to work and find better jobs. That would increase productivity and help employers fill empty job slots, both of which would work to keep price increases in check.

A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office earlier this month said that if many of the bill’s temporary spending boosts and tax cuts were made permanent, it would add $3 trillion to the price tag. That would more than double its 10-year cost to about $5 trillion. Democrats has called the projections from the Republican-requested report fictitious.

But Democrats note that the CBO estimated that the legislation is almost completely paid for. Its tax boosts, more aggressive IRS collection of revenue from higher earners and other savings would add around $200 billion to federal deficits over the coming decade, CBO has estimated — a small percentage of the $12 trillion in red ink CBO had already projected.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


10 comments

  • Alex

    December 19, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Joe Manchin is a dinosaur, and keeps putting American families and people last.

    Now Chuck, make sure you put it on the floor for a vote, so Americans will know who’s with them and who isn’t.

    • Jerry

      December 19, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      He realizes the country is heading right down the drain. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have. It’s already starting to cause damage to the currency. The country is $30 trillion in debt. The budget deficit is currently $2.7 trillion. And you want to put another $2 trillion on it? Who’s going to pay for it? It won’t be the rich because Democrats aren’t raising the taxes on the rich. They are just piling on the debt. And Democrats have no plan to fix it. No plan at all to balance the budget.

      That’s insane government policy. But you know the real reason behind all this spending? The Democrats know they are going to be slaughtered in the next election. They are going to completely lose control of Congress. They know it. So what they are trying to do here is pass these massive spending bills that contain pay-offs for all their donors and pet projects before their clock runs out. This is a massively corrupt government we have in this country now.

      • Alex

        December 19, 2021 at 1:35 pm

        And why do we have a massive debt Mr Anti-vax?

        Tax cuts that have never worked, yet liars keep insisting they do with zero results they can show.

        Fact.

        Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is actual, demonstrable insanity.

        And I’m quite sure Biden’s unpopularity won’t translate into the party behind the 1/6 Republican terrorist attack on Democracy becoming magically popular.

        Lol

        • Impeach Biden

          December 19, 2021 at 5:29 pm

          You are either a college student or a college professor. One is young and doesn’t know any better. The other is old and can’t function in the real world therefore they hang out at the University. Which one are you? Speaking of terrorism. How many do you think have entered what was once our Southern Border?

        • Ron Ogden

          December 19, 2021 at 6:39 pm

          Why do people like Alex condemn elected officials like Manchin for taking a principled and courageous stand? Because people like Alex have no place for principle and courage in their political vocabulary.

          • Alex

            December 19, 2021 at 7:39 pm

            Ah yes, principled like Trump’s massive lies, and performing terrorist attacks on congress because you believe the lies, then when caught, attempting to tell us it was actually antifa or they were simply tourists in the capital.

            Go peddle your lies and BS somewhere else.

        • Tom

          December 19, 2021 at 9:27 pm

          Idiot Alex, IRS announced last month that tax cuts paid for themselves. U S Treasury announced in October that Feds collected over $4 trillion last year. Sorry IRS and Treasury proved you and your Manchurians lie.
          Tax cuts pay for themselves. IRS announced middle class benefited.
          Florida’s unemployment 4.5%, 50,000 new jobs. U S had 200,000.

    • impeach Biden

      December 19, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      Speaking of dinosaurs. What about Pelosi and Schumer. And then there is “Dementia” Joe to top it off.

  • Tom

    December 19, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Yes, add Stenny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn in late 70’s, as well. Horse Deputies
    The old Soviet politburo.
    Repubs will retire them to minority party.

  • zhombre

    December 20, 2021 at 6:50 am

    Good for Manchin and Sinema, and good for the USA that this behemoth spending bill was defeated. The Biden administration will continue to implode.

Comments are closed.


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