West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin withdrew his support on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act on Dec. 19, effectively ending negotiations on the $1.75 trillion taxing and spending plan.
“If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday.
Manchin cited concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the national debt, and inflation for his decision.
Following the interview, Manchin reiterated his concerns in a lengthy statement, citing “a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hardworking American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores, and utility bills with no end in sight.”
For months, Manchin has played a central role in talks over the legislation that would expand the country’s social safety net.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Manchin’s remarks were “at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.”
“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” Psaki said.
Psaki added that they will press Manchin to “reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments, and be true to his word.”
Some news outlets reported that sources familiar with the discussions said that Manchin’s staff informed the White House and Democratic leadership about Manchin’s decision about 30 to 40 minutes before he went on Fox.
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