Manchin explains death knell to Build Back Better in “Talkline” interview

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, now firmly against the $2 trillion Build Back Better plan, says in the end Democratic leaders and the Biden White House really didn’t want to change the proposal to address his concerns, but instead they wanted to pressure him to change.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. (File)

Manchin said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” that strategy failed.

“I’m not blaming anybody. I knew where they were and I knew what they could and could not do.”

Manchin said supporters of the plan in its current form were confident they could make Manchin back off his calls for responsibility and accountability.

“They figured, ‘Surely to God we can move one person. Surely, we can badger and beat one person up. Surely we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough they’ll just say, ‘Okay, I’ll vote for anything just quit.'”

“Guess what?” Manchin said Monday. “I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from where you can beat the living crap out and people and they’ll be submissive.”

Manchin sent the Biden White House and Democrats scrambling Sunday when he came out on Fox News Sunday against Build Back Better.

“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. I just can’t,” he said. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

“You’re done. This is a no,” host Brett Baier said.

“This is a no on this legislation,” Manchin responded.

During the interview Monday with MetroNews “Talkline” Host Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin said those negotiating on behalf of President Biden put out things in the media recently about him that weren’t true. He said he realized that compromise wasn’t going to happen.

“I knew it was never going to change. It never could change with that many people,” Manchin said.

Manchin said the top priorities now in Congress political unrest around the world, COVID-19 and its variants and inflation. He said if something like Build Back Better comes up it must go through the committee process. He said he went along with skipping the process when he supported the America Rescue Act for passage through reconciliation on the Senate floor.

“I think I made it very clear at that time, I won’t continue to do major policy changes through reconciliation. It needs to go through a process,” Manchin said.

Manchin was asked on “Talkline” if there’s a still a place for him in the Democratic Party.

“I would hope there are still Democrats who feel like I do. I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” Manchin said. “if there’s no Democrats like that they’ll have to push me where they want me.”

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bernie Sanders have said in the past day that Build Back Better should come up for vote even with Manchin’s key opposition. Manchin said he would welcome the opportunity to defeat it.

“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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