President Joe Biden’s ambitious social spending agenda was essentially stymied by moderate U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who recently announced that he would not support the Build Back Better bill.
Manchin’s statement represented a clear defeat of the progressive agenda, which led Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) to urge the president to bypass Congress altogether in implementing his massive program.
“To immediately improve people’s lives”
Of course, it is more than likely that leftist officials like Jayapal would be singing a different tune if a Republican president faced similar opposition on Capitol Hill.
Nevertheless, the Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman made her partisan wishes known in an op-ed published by the Washington Post.
Despite the fact that the bill was also opposed by all 50 Senate Republicans, Jayapal essentially accused Manchin of shouldering all the blame for blocking the legislation.
After offering her perspective on the history of negotiations surrounding the measure, the lawmaker honed in on her underlying focus on advancing the bill to Biden’s desk.
“The Progressive Caucus will continue to work toward legislation for Build Back Better, focused on keeping it as close to the agreed-upon framework as possible,” Jayapal wrote. “At the same time, we are calling on the president to use executive action to immediately improve people’s lives.”
“Will soon release a plan for these actions”
In reference to Biden’s potential use of his executive powers, Jayapal concluded that it would “also make clear to those who hinder Build Back Better that the White House and Democrats will deliver for Americans.”
For his part, Manchin offered his take on the massive spending bill earlier this month during a Fox News Channel interview.
Although he claimed to have “done everything humanly possible” to achieve a compromise with his progressive colleagues, he concluded: “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”
Chief among his objections was the exorbitant price tag of the bill and the likely negative impact such spending would have on the national debt amid rising inflation.
It remains to be seen if Biden will heed Jayapal’s suggestion to skirt Congress and attempt to unilaterally impose his agenda. In the meantime, the Washington Democrat promised that her caucus “will soon release a plan for these actions” that she wants the president to take.