Republished with permission from Common Dreams, by Common Dreams staff
Bernie Sanders: Manchin “doesn’t have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests”
“I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,” Mr. Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday, “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.”
The comments from Mr. Manchin dealt a fatal blow to the legislation that is central to President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“I think he’s gonna have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Sanders said Manchin “doesn’t have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests.” “We’ve been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month after month. But if he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world,” Sanders added.
"If he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world." Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin saying "no" to Biden's Build Back Better Act. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/oEQaD19tAd
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 19, 2021
In a statement following his CNN appearance, Sanders said:
“If Sen. Joe Manchin wants to vote against the Build Back Better Act, he should have the opportunity to do so with a floor vote as soon as the Senate returns. He should have to explain to West Virginians and the American people why he doesn’t have the courage to stand up to powerful special interests and lower prescription drug costs; expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eyeglasses; continue the $300 per child direct monthly payment which has cut childhood poverty by over 40%; and address the devastating impacts of climate change. He should also have to explain why he is not prepared to demand that millionaires and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.
“I also find it amusing that Sen. Manchin indicates his worry about the deficit after voting just this week for a military budget of $778 billion, four times greater than Build Back Better over ten years and $25 billion more than the president requested.”Manchin, a right wing Democrat, put out a statement after his FOX News appearance detailing his decision to vote against the bill, pointed to rising prices, inflation, dependence on foreign supply chains and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), also on CNN’s “State of the Union, said “He has continued to move the goalposts, he has never negotiated in good faith. and he is obstructing the President’s agenda. 85 percent of which is still left on the table. And in obstructing the president’s agenda, he is obstructing the people’s agenda.”
“We cannot allow one lone senator from West Virginia to obstruct the president’s agenda, to obstruct the people’s agenda. Jake, all I want for Christmas is a senator that has compassion for the American people and not contempt,” Pressley added.
Pressley was one of just six progressive lawmakers who voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill in November to show their opposition to moving forward with the legislation without also passing the social spending and climate package.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, (D-Minn.) in a tweet Sunday morning, said: “Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bullshit. The people of West Virginia would directly benefit from childcare, pre-Medicare expansion, and long term care, just like Minnesotans. This is exactly what we warned would happen if we separated Build Back Better from infrastructure.”
President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer had promised that the Build Back Better bill would be passed after the bipartisan infrastructure bill, reversing previous vows to approve the two measures at the same time.
Back in June, Pelosi said: “Let me be really clear on this: There ain’t gonna be no bipartisan bill, unless we have a reconciliation bill.” She reiterated: “As I said, there won’t be an infrastructure bill, unless we have a reconciliation bill. Plain and simple. In fact, I use the word ain’t. There ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill, unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate.”
Let’s be clear: Manchin’s excuse is bullshit. The people of West Virginia would directly benefit from childcare, pre-Medicare expansion, and long term care, just like Minnesotans.
This is exactly what we warned would happen if we separated Build Back Better from infrastructure. https://t.co/dhzcSk0qUV
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 19, 2021
Those of us who warned against splitting up the BIF from the BBB, who said Manchin couldn’t be trusted, who said not to spend months chasing his vote and Sinema’s… have been sadly kinda vindicated. https://t.co/rIZi3D69jR
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 19, 2021
My oh my!!! There should be no one surprised by “President” Manchin’s decision😒
Manchin pulls support for Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan – @CBSNews https://t.co/ufqI1i9KcV
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) December 19, 2021
When a handful of us in the House warned this would happen if Dem leaders gave Manchin everything he wanted 1st by moving BIF before BBB instead of passing together, many ridiculed our position.
Maybe they’ll believe us next time. Or maybe people will just keep calling us naïve. https://t.co/TtKW6VOOCF
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 19, 2021
Joe Manchin is the new Mitch McConnell. I said this 6 months ago— it’s even more true today. https://t.co/0ROyAmMFDT
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) December 19, 2021
Manchin is a tour de force in gaslighting and dishonesty.
“We’ve got COVID” — but Manchin just voted with Republicans to overturn Biden’s employer vaccine and testing requirements.
“We’ve got inflation” — but Build Back Better would cut costs for millions of working families. https://t.co/j6dNY4ekLv
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) December 19, 2021
Opposing Build Back Better, @Sen_JoeManchin confirms his allegiance to the fossil fool and pharma industries, and his betrayal of the people and the planet. How democratic is a system that allows 1 person from a state with less than 2 million to determine policy for 330 million?
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) December 19, 2021
Manchin in his statement says Build Back Better moves the economy too quickly away from the fossil fuel industry.
Manchin owns a struggling coal business that would be hurt by cheaper clean energy. His logic is sound, though it should also be criminal. https://t.co/TV3i09jpUP
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) December 19, 2021
Manchin had to pretend to be engaging in good faith to get the infrastructure bill through the House
He was able to convince Biden to vouch for him with the progressive caucus
Once he got the infrastructure deal (which was supported by corporate lobbyists) he was done
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 19, 2021
WHITE HOUSE @PressSec on Joe Manchin's remarks about BBB: "at odds with his discussions this week with the President… 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." pic.twitter.com/EfU1jIYkWW
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) December 19, 2021