Sen. Joe Manchin is fuelling rumors he could quit the Democratic Party next year, Axios reported.
The Arizona senator announced Sunday that he would not support Biden’s $1.75 trillion spending plan.
Sources told the outlet that he would be more likely to switch to be an independent rather than Republican.
Sen. Joe Manchin’s bombshell decision to sink President Joe economic agenda has reignited rumors that he may defect from the Democratic Party next year.
Axios reported early Monday that people around Manchin are discussing him leaving. It did not name any.
Those sources said Manchin would prefer to be an independent and caucus with Democrats — the same arrangement as Sen. Bernie Sanders — than to fully switch sides and join the Republicans.
The conservative West Virginia senator on Sunday said he could not support Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” spending plan and told Fox News: “I can’t get there. This is a no.”
Axios reported that the move has triggered further speculation, as well as a desire among Democrats to punish Manchin.
Manchin in October dismissed a Mother Jones report which said he was considering leaving the Democratic Party and declare himself an “American Independent” over concerns about the Build Back Better bill, which he called too expensive.
“I can’t control rumors and it’s bullshit — bullshit spelled with a B, U, L, L, capital B,” Manchin told a reporter on Capitol Hill at the time.
Not long after he did note all the same that he is approached “every day” about changing his loyalty.
Manchin’s defection would make Biden’s efforts to pass sweeping legislative reform through Congress considerably more difficult.
The president has 50 votes in the Senate, meaning opposition from just one Democratic senator is enough to sink a piece of legislation.
The White House on Sunday angrily attacked Manchin’s decision to tank the Build Back Better bill, calling it a “sudden and inexplicable reversal.”
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Manchin had committed to “support the Build Back Better framework,” and attacked his change of mind.
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