US Senator Joe Manchin on Sunday dealt what appeared to be a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s huge social spending bill, saying he could not support the passage of the legislation through the divided chamber.
The vote of the moderate Democrat is crucial to getting the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill through the Senate, and Biden — along with other high-ranking Democrats — has spent weeks trying to gain his support.
“I can’t vote for it and I can’t vote to go through with this piece of legislation. I just can’t,” Manchin, a senator from the predominantly Republican state of West Virginia, told Fox News Sunday.
“I’ve tried everything humanly possible, I can’t get there… This is a no.”
Biden has had numerous talks with Manchin, who finds the project too expensive and claims it will fuel inflation, which is now a major concern for Biden and American consumers.
“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are committed to drastically reforming our society in a way that makes our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face,” Manchin said in a statement on Twitter.
“I can’t 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.”
The bill aims to spend money on lowering the cost of childcare and prescription drugs, supporting household purchasing power and investing in the clean energy transition.
Manchin’s decision is a major blow to Biden, who has spent a lot of political capital getting the approval of what is seen as a signature of his presidency.
Republicans in the divided Senate are vigorously opposing the legislation, meaning its approval depends on every Democrat in the chamber who supports it.
Biden admitted on Thursday that he probably wouldn’t be able to push the bill as quickly as he’d hoped after recent tough talks with Manchin, shattering hopes of a final vote before the end of the year. .
However, he remained optimistic, saying, “I believe we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.”
The White House did not immediately respond to the request for comment on Sunday.
Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders reacted more harshly to Manchin’s “no” on Sunday, saying Democrats would put the bill to a vote despite his intransigence.
“I hope we will put a strong bill in the Senate as soon as possible and have Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests,” he told DailyExpertNews.
The progressive wing of the Democratic party is angry at the attention the White House has paid to the moderate Manchin to convince him to support the bill.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)