The Build Back Better Act appears to be dead as of today.
Senator Joe Manchin said he could not support passing the bill in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. It came as shocking news to President Biden and his administration and other democrats leading this way with the resolution.
The bill proposed $1.75 trillion in social and climate spending reform and has been on shaky ground for a while. Despite the measure being a crucial component of President Joe Biden’s plans, Manchin has raised concerns about the bill’s content and cost for quite a while.
“I’ve done everything humanly possible, I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation; this is a no on this legislation.” Manchin told Fox News Sunday host, Bret Baier. “When you have these things coming at you the way they are right now … I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”
He added: “There’s a lot of good, but that bill is a mammoth piece of legislation.”
He pointed out the bill is not being voted on like a regular bill, but is being pushed through as budget reconciliation.
Senator Manchin said that instead of trying to pass such a large spending bill, Congress should be more focused on tackling the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and that the government should be addressing inflation that has “harmed a lot of Americans.”
Biden learned of Manchin’s plans only minutes before Manchin’s appearance on Fox. The President tried to quickly get the senator on the phone but was unsuccessful.
According to those inside the administration, Manchin’s move frustrated the President and his top advisers. The White House moved to criticize Manchin in a statement indicating their frustration and directly questioning the senator’s integrity. The White House released a 714-word statement accusing him of “a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President.”
“Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone — we cannot,” said the statement.
Many progressives in the House echoed the White House statement, sharply criticizing Manchin’s decision.
Rep. Ilhan Omar called Manchin’s claim that he had “done all he can” to reconcile with Build Back Better “bull—-” in a tweet on Sunday.
Senator Bernie Sanders reacted to the news on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, telling host Jake Tapper, “Well, I think he’s gonna have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia,”
Republicans praised Manchin’s decision to stop the bill, which the GOP universally opposed from the beginning.
“President Biden’s mega-spending bill is dead, and Joe Manchin put the nail in the coffin,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement. “This should be a reality check to wild-eyed progressives that they are not the mainstream: With a divided country, a 50-50 Senate, and blowout inflation, the American people don’t want to upend this country with nakedly-partisan legislation.”
While Manchin’s statement sounds especially final and has been interpreted that way, it’s unclear whether this is the end for Biden’s domestic policy agenda.