Joe Manchin Demands Clarity on Biden Agenda Bill, Potentially Imperiling Multitrillion-Dollar Package

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill,
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said during a press conference Monday that he would not vote for the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act without knowing about the bill’s impact on inflation and the deficit, potentially imperiling President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.

Manchin held a press conference as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tentatively planned to hold a vote on the Build Back Better Act, or the Democrats’ infrastructure bill, on Tuesday. Pelosi also tentatively planned to hold a vote on the $1.2 trillion so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill, or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

President Joe Biden has pinned his legislative agenda and his congressional majority on passing the dual infrastructure bills.

Manchin lambasted progressives, such as Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), for holding the bipartisan bill “hostage.” The West Virginia Democrat called for an immediate vote on the bipartisan bill and dared progressives to tank the bill.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing December 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Democrats claim that Trump posed a 'clear and present danger' to national security and the 2020 election in his dealings with Ukraine over the past year. (Photo by Alex Edelman -Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing (Alex Edelman -Pool/Getty Images).

“There are some House Democrats who say they can’t support this infrastructure package until they get my commitment to reconciliation legislation. It is time to vote on the deal up or down and then go home and explain to your constituents the decision you make,” Manchin stated.

Manchin said progressives holding the bipartisan bill “hostage is not going to work” for the reconciliation bill.
He also said he would not support the Build Back Better Act if it would expand social programs dramatically and “irresponsibly” add to the nation’s $29 trillion in national debt.


The senator then asserted he would not support the bill if it were to risk “hurting American families suffering from historic inflation.”

Furthermore, Manchin called for time to understand the implications of the mammoth $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act.

“That is why we must allow time for complete transparency and analysis on the impact of changes to our tax code and energy and climate policies to ensure that our country is well-positioned to remain the superpower of the world,” he said.

Manchin added that he has concerns about expanding Medicare; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants to expand Medicare by adding vision and dental benefits.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a health care rally at the 2017 Convention of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee on September 22, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the California Nurses Association about his Medicare for All Act of 2017 bill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a healthcare rally (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images).

“This is a recipe for economic crises,” Manchin said.

He also complained about budget “gimmicks” in the enormous bill to mask the cost of the legislation.

Manchin warned Democrats that he remains ready to tank the Build Back Better Act. Since Democrats only have a 50-50 majority in the Senate, Manchin’s vote against the bill could block it in Congress’s upper chamber.

“I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward. But I’m equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country,” he said.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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