Democratic Senator Joe Manchin dealt a severe blow, Sunday, to US President Joe Biden’s huge social spending project, declaring that he could not vote in favor of this legislation in the Senate.
Manchin’s vote is key to passing the $17 trillion “Build Better” bill in the equally divided Senate, and Biden has spent weeks trying to rally support for his bill.
“I can’t vote for this legislation,” the Republican-majority senator from West Virginia told Fox News Sunday. “I tried everything possible as a human being, I couldn’t get to that point (…) That means no.”
Biden had held several talks with Manchin, who is considering the bill very expensive and hyperinflationary, It is now a major concern to Biden and American consumers alike.
“My fellow Democrats in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that makes our country more vulnerable to the threats we face,” Manchin said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I cannot take that risk with a staggering $29 trillion in debt and tangible and harmful taxes being imposed on every hard-working American,” he added.
The bill aims to finance lowering the cost of childcare and medicine, support families’ purchasing power, and invest in the transition to clean energy.
Manchin’s decision deals a severe blow to Biden, who spent much of his political capital to secure the passage of this project, which is seen as the main achievement of his presidential term.
Republicans in a divided Senate oppose the bill, which means its passage depends on the support of every Democrat in the House.
Biden admitted Thursday that he may not be able to move forward on the bill as quickly as he had hoped after recent difficult talks with Mnuchin, dashing hopes of a final vote before the end of the year.
But he maintained his optimism, saying, “I believe we will overcome our differences and advance a plan to rebuild better, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders took a tougher line in his response to Mansion’s “no” on Sunday, saying Democrats would bring the bill to a vote despite the intransigence.
“I hope to get a strong bill into the Senate as soon as possible, and for Mr. Manchin to explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t have the courage to stand up to powerful special interests,” he told CNN.
The attention the White House lavished on the moderate Manchin to win his support angered the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.