Sen. Manchin hit out at Democrats’ attempts to get him to back Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill.
“I won’t continue to go down everything you want to do,” said Manchin in a local news interview Monday.
He said to get his backing a bill would have to be vetted by Senate committees.
Sen. Joe Manchin said that Democrats had tried to “badger and beat” him into voting for President Joe Biden’s sweeping social care and climate change bill, and that he’d only reconsider his opposition if the legislation was totally rewritten.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democratic moderate, made the comment in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews Monday in the wake of his decision to not back Biden’s $1.6 trillion Build Back Better bill, the centrepiece of the president’s domestic policy agenda.
The bill requires the unanimous support of Democratic senators to pass, and despite months of negotiations and increasingly urgent appeals from the Biden White House and his own party, Manchin pulled the plug on the bill in a Fox News interview on Sunday.
In the interview with West Virginia MetroNews Monday, Manchin struck a note of defiance.
“I knew what they could and could not do. They just never realized it, because they figure surely to God we can move one person. Surely, we can badger and beat one person up,” Manchin said.
“Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, [where] they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive.”
Manchin said that the only circumstances he could see himself backing the bill were if it were rewritten, and instead focused on revoking President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.
He said he wanted the bill to go through the Senate committees, a process that could take months. Manchin provided no clear assurance that even if the bill was rewritten that it would get his backing and be able to pass.
“I won’t continue to go down everything you want to do, major policy changes and reconciliation. It needs to go through a process,” Manchin said.
The future of the Build Back Better bill is uncertain, with Democratic senators to meet on Tuesday to try and work out a way forward for the bill.
One possibility that remains open is that Manchin could still accept a revised, pared down version of the bill, say observers.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that a vote on the bill will go ahead in the new year.
But Manchin said Monday he’d welcome the chance to sink the bill in its current form in a Senate vote.
“Please put it on the floor. Maybe it will sink in that we have to look in a different direction than this far-reaching social agenda,” Manchin said.
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