The ongoing feud between moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) heated up this week when Manchin blasted the “out of stater” Sanders for touting President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda in a West Virginia op-ed.
On Friday, the Charleston Gazette-Mail published a piece authored by Bernie Sanders in which he hailed Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda as an “unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families.” Since Manchin has continuously opposed the bill’s high $3.5 trillion price tag, the senator from West Virginia interpreted the op-ed as a clear attack.
“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state,” Manchin wrote in a statement shared on social media.
“Millions of jobs are open, supply chains are strained and unavoidable inflation taxes are draining workers’ hard-earned wages as the price of gasoline and groceries continues to climb,” he added.
Describing Bernie Sanders as a “socialist,” Manchin advised Congress to “proceed with caution” when it comes to an expansion of the welfare state.
“Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs,” he said. “No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”
In the op-ed, Bernie Sanders claimed that Democrats are overwhelmingly unified in favor of the bill as a clear attempt to single out Manchin as a lone holdout.
“Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation. Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote ‘yes,'” he wrote. “We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va”
“This is a pivotal moment in modern American history,” he concluded. “We now have a historic opportunity to support the working families of West Virginia, Vermont and the entire country and create policy which works for all, not just the few.”
Manchin is joined in his opposition against the bill’s high price tag by his other moderate colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who reportedly told Democrats in a recent private meeting that she will not support President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar plan prior to passing the waiting bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Both Sens. Sinema and Manchin have objected to what they feel are excessive elements of the bill that progressive Democrats overwhelmingly favor, such as an expansion of welfare handouts, free college, free pre-K, and increased efforts to combat global climate change. Speaking with reporters earlier this month, Sen. Manchin feared that the bill would further create an “entitlement society.”
“I’ve been very clear when it comes to who we are as a society, who we are as a nation, and why we are still the hope of the world,” he said. “I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think that we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society.”