Senator Joe Manchin delivered a potentially deadly blow to President Joe Biden’s large social spending programme on Sunday, stating that he could not back the bill’s passage through the split Senate.
The vote of the moderate Democrat is critical to passing the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better measure, and Biden, along with other senior Democrats, has spent weeks attempting to secure his support.
“I am unable to vote in favour of it, and I am also unable to vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I’m sorry, but I’m unable to do so “Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a heavily Republican state, stated on Fox News Sunday.
Biden has spoken with Manchin several times, who believes the project is too expensive and will exacerbate inflation, which is a key issue for Biden and US consumers.
“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are hell-bent on drastically reshaping our culture in a way that makes our country even more susceptible to the threats we face,” Manchin said in a Twitter statement.
“With a massive debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and destructive to every hard-working American, I cannot take that risk.”
The law proposes to direct funds toward cutting the cost of child care and prescription pharmaceuticals, bolstering household purchasing power, and investing in the clean energy transition.
Manchin’s decision is a severe setback for Biden, who has invested substantial political capital in securing passage of what is widely seen as his signature bill. Because Republicans in the Senate are united in their opposition to the bill, it will need the support of every Democrat in the chamber to pass.
After recent heated negotiations with Manchin, Biden confessed on Thursday that he wouldn’t be able to get the bill through as quickly as he had wanted, putting an end to expectations of a final vote before the end of the year.
“I believe that we will overcome our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, especially in the face of robust Republican opposition,” he said with optimism.
On Sunday, the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, adopted a tougher stance in response to Manchin’s “no” on Sunday, declaring that despite his obstinacy, Democrats would bring the bill to a vote.
“I hope that we will put a robust bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible,” he said on CNN, “and let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he lacks the courage to stand up to big special interests.”
The White House’s lavish attention on the moderate Manchin in order to persuade him to support the package has enraged the radical wing of the Democratic party.